This page was last updated on 10/16/2017
Assessing Consistency and Fairness in Sentencing: A Comparative Study in Three States
Center for Sentencing Initiatives
State Sentencing Guidelines at
Because sentencing is a critical component of the criminal justice process, it is continually changing to improve the justice system’s response to convicted criminals. Reforms often address broader goals of sentencing, such as the role of judges and the punishment options, but issues likewise include disparity in sentencing, judicial discretion, and the impact of sentencing policies on facilities and personnel resources. This topic includes information on sentencing commissions, sentencing guidelines, and sentencing reform.
Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may
be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.
For the last five years, Richland County, Ohio, has operated one of the first, and largest, model reentry courts, which provides for court oversight of offenders as they proceed through the criminal-justice system.
State court dockets are filled with offenders who have been through the system before and are likely to return. Incorporating evidence-based practices into the sentencing process offers the promise of reducing recidivism while protecting public safety and controlling corrections costs.
This document provides guidance to help judges and others involved in the sentencing decision understand when and how to incorporate risk and needs assessment information into their decision making process.
Blended sentencing in Minnesota emerged as a political compromise between those who wanted to emphasize public safety, punishment, and accountability of juvenile offenders, and those who wanted to maintain or strengthen the traditional juvenile justice system.
This report identifies which branch of government is responsible for juvenile, adult misdemeanor and adult felony probation.
This article discusses how a long-simmering, but often tacit debate questions whether sentencing discretion should reflect best efforts to reduce recidivism. Smart-sentencing trends embrace that responsibility and enlist a wide range of strategies in pursuit of evidence-based decisions that earn public trust and confidence through accountability for public safety.
This article reviews specific evidence based practices that are proven to reduce recidivism.
Model curriculum handbook intended to help trial judges develop sentencing practices that improve public safety and reduce the risk of offender recidivism.
A three-stage evaluation: Process of Sentencing Reform Empirical Study of Diversion and Recidivism and Benefit-Cost Analysis.
This policy brief advocates for the use of alternatives to confinement to curb the $50 billion annual correctional bill.
This report is a comparative inquiry into how sentencing guidelines shape sentences of offenders.
This article summarizes results of the first survey to query U.S. state court judges about what role collateral consequences play in criminal proceedings and about jduges' general understanding of the nature and efficacy of such sanctions.
In this article, application of the United States Sentencing Guidelines among district court judges adjudicating substantially similar drug cases is compared. This analysis suggests that long-existing Ffederal Sentencing Guidelines schemes reduce disparities in sentences when judges apply the Guideline ranges, but not disparities associated with the choice of whether to apply those ranges.
Impact on and reactions in the states to Blakely v. Washington.
Provides information, analysis, and education to promote sentencing practices that protect the public and reduce recidivism.
Reference guide containing profiles of system designs employed by states' sentencing commissions.
The NCSC distributed a nine-question survey to the state chief justices and court administrators. This report describes the responses.
This report is based on the responses of 1,500 people surveyed via telephone to determine their attitudes about criminal sentencing.
New Study Finds State Guidelines Boost Consistency, Reduce Discrimination in Sentencing.
The authors test a range of judicial attributes on sentencing decisions using a database where judges must consider requests to depart from the Guidelines and the identityof judges is clearly discernible, as they analyze the effect of the landmark case U.S. v. Booker (2005).
Truth-In-Sentencing (TIS) tries to minimize the disparity between the sentence given by the judge and the actual amount of time a prisoner serves. The objectives of the report are to analyze Virginia's development and implementation of TIS, forecast its impact, and evaluate the recidivism rates of Virginian offenders.