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SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
Short Sentences and Recidivist
Karla Bedeau
Monroe College
EN 121
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
I. Introduction
Thesis statement: Impact of short sentences on recidivists trend of committing crimes.
II. Background
A. Many ethical and legal issues exist in policy making around recidivism (Tonry,
2010).
B. Results show that in three years after release 67.08 percent of the released offenders
were rearrested (National Institute of Justice, 2014)
III. Reasons for offenders long and short sentencing
A. In this article, the authors Pew Trust explain the reasons as to why offenders
are sentenced to more extended periods in prisons (Pew)
1. Deterrence
2. Incapacitation
IV.
Recidivism and the youth
A. According to the study, the number of youth placed in institutions for the
offense in the United States has decreased by 47 percent in the last two
decades since 2007 (Walters & Bishop, 2016).
V.
Impact of length of sentencing on recidivism
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
A. In this study by Rhodes et al. (2018) the aim was to determine if the length of
prison sentences decrease or reduce recidivism.
B. In this study, random judicial assignments are used to determine the effect of
length of a prison sentence on recidivism (Roach, & Schanzenbach 2015).
C. In this study by Rhodes et al. (2018) the aim was to determine if the length of
prison sentences decrease or reduce recidivism
VI.
Comparison of recidivists in short and long-term sentencing
A. In this article, the United States Sentencing Commission found no difference
in the recidivism of offenders that served their full term and those that were
released thirty months earlier through the Fair Sentencing Act (Pryor Jr, W et al.
2018).
VII. Conclusion
Data provided shows that short sentences do not impact recidivism. Although there was minimal,
a decrease of recidivism with the increase of a month of sentencing the same study indicated that
offenders that were released early had the same rate of recidivism as the ones that served their
sentence. In juveniles, the rate of recidivists was lower in the ones that were involved in
activities.
.
Running Head: SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
Short Sentencing and Recidivist
Karla Bedeau
Monroe College
EN 121
1
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
2
References
National Institute of Justice. (2014). Recidivism. Retrieved from
https://www.nij.gov/topics/corrections/recidivism/pages/welcome.aspx
(National Institute of Justice, 2014)
Pew. (2013). Prison Time Served and Recidivism. Retrieved from
https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/fact-sheets/2013/10/08/prison-timeserved-and-recidivism
(Pew, 2013)
Pryor, W., H, Barkow, R., E., Breyer, C., R., Reeves, D., C., Bolitho, Z., C., & Smoot, J., P., W.
(2018). Recidivism Among Federal Offenders Receiving Retroactive Sentence
Reductions: The 2011 Fair Sentencing Act Guideline Amendment. United States
Sentencing Commission. Retrieved from
https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/researchpublications/2018/20180328_Recidivism_FSA-Retroactivity.pdf
(Pryor, Barkow, Breyer,Reeves, Bolitho & Smoot, 2018)
Rhodes, W., Gaes, G. G., Kling, R., & Cutler, C. (2018). The relationship between prison length
of stay and recidivism: A study using regression discontinuity and instrumental variables
with multiple break points. Criminology & Public Policy, 17(3), 731-769.
(Rhodes, Gaes, Kling & Cutler, 2018)
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
Roach, M. A., & Schanzenbach, M. M. (2015). The effect of prison sentence length on
recidivism: Evidence from random judicial assignment. Northwestern Law & Econ
Research Paper, (16-08).
(Roach & Schanzenbach, 2015)
Tonry, M. (2014). Legal and ethical issues in the prediction of recidivism. Federal Sentencing
Reporter, 26(3), 167-176.
(Tonry, 2014)
Walker, S. C., & Bishop, A. S. (2016). Length of stay, therapeutic change, and recidivism for
incarcerated juvenile offenders. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 55(6), 355-376.
(Walker & Bishop, 2016)
Walters, J., P. and Tell, D. (2019). Criminal Justice Reform and the First Step
Act’s Recidivism Reduction Provisions: Preliminary Issues for
Policymakers. Hudson Institute. Retrieved from
https://www.hudson.org/research/14776-criminal-justice-reform-and-thefirst-step-act-s-recidivism-reduction-provisions-preliminary-issues-forpolicymakers
(Walters & Tell, 2019)
3
Running head: SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
1
Short Sentencing and Recidivist
Karla Bedeau
Monroe College
EN 103
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
2
Short Sentencing and Recidivist
Recidivism is related to the act of offenders going back to crime. Many factors are
considered when approaching the issue of ex-convicts reoffending. One factor that has always
been used to relate to the issue is the aspect involving sentencing. This paper will assess how
several studies have been carried out on the topic of length of sentencing and the relation with
recidivism and come up with a conclusion. The paper will also be looking at the impact of short
sentences on recidivists trend of committing crimes
As reforms, start being legislated recidivism is one of the primary considerations for their
implementation. In the First Step Act Title I “Recidivism Reduction” requires that the Attorney
General and the Justice Department in consultation with practitioners, experts, and independent
review committees to develop and implement a risk assessment tool that can evaluate individuals
that are incarcerated if they can re-offend after release. The ranking by the risk assessment tool
will be used to provide a classification of offenders as low or minimum recidivism. Credits will
be earned and successful candidates will be released into rehabilitation programs. Credits will be
used for supervised release or pre-release custody.
Furthermore, in the process of coming up with policies to deal with recidivism some
ethical and legal issues exist (Tonry, 2014). Policies being developed are aimed at providing
alternatives for the prison time in efforts to reduce recidivism. By predicting if an offender will
reoffend is the primary concern when setting up the guidelines by the sentencing commissions.
Contradictions exist where other individuals believe that an offender that serves his time outside
the prison is enjoying a quality life in efforts of avoiding reoffending. Recidivists are believed to
reoffend because of lack of education, mental health and work skills. A bigger worry is
developed where the future law abidingness of the offender is more important than the offenders’
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
3
well-being. Ethical concerns arise because the offender is now disappearing from the
conversation and being replaced by the risk of him or her involvement in recidivism.
A variety of reasons that form the basis as to why offenders are imprisoned for long
sentences in the United States. In article by Pew Trust (2013) two reasons are explained as the
reasons as to why offenders are sentenced to extended periods in prisons. Two reasons are
identified as the cause of long sentences, which are deterrence and incapacitation. Incapacitation
is a process where offenders are incarcerated to reduce the current activities by keeping the
perpetrators in lock up where they can no longer commit crimes in public. Deterrence is
undertaken to prevent criminal activities in the future or recidivism by applying a high
punishment to crimes to dissuade criminals from being involved in new crime. Many individuals
believe in the notion that longer sentencing is more effective in controlling recidivism because of
criminal age out of the criminal life. Others believe that the longer a person spends in the prison,
the more he loses the supporting mechanisms in the society and becomes hardcore due to
interacting with other criminals.
In an article showing statistics by the Bureau of Justice Statistics Studies, the categories
of offenders that are most likely to be rearrested were property offenders at 82.1 percent of the
total property offenders (National Institute of Justice, 2014). Second, in the category of offenders
were drug offenders at 76.9 percent then public order offenders constituting 73.6 percent. In the
data recidivism rates in released offenders were tracked in thirty states for 404,638 individuals
after their release from prison in the year 2005. Results show that in three years after release
67.08 percent of the released offenders were rearrested. In five years of release, 76.6 percent
were rearrested, and at the end of the first year, 56.7 percent were rearrested. Violent offenders
were the least of rearrests at 71.3 percent. According to the article recidivism is measured by
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
4
criminal activities that end up with rearrests, return to prison or reconviction with or without a
new sentence in a three-year time following the offenders’ release. The data shows that there is a
relationship between short sentences and the chances of recidivism. Individuals that have shorter
sentences were less likely to reoffend than the ones that have been incarcerated for longer
sentences.
In another study with the aim to understand the influence of the period of stay in
therapeutic institution for high-risk juvenile offenders, no relationship was found between
juveniles that spent longer stays and reduced future offenses (Walker and Bishop, 2016).
According to the study, the number of youth placed in institutions for the offense in the United
States has decreased by 47 percent in the last two decades since 2007. Results of the study
indicate that there is no relationship with the occurrence of felony recidivism with a yearlong of
release. There was a small dip in the 9-11 months stays that is non-significant, but recidivism
rates among the five lengths levels were consistent. Twelve months recidivism was reduced with
skill acquisition. Acquiring a skill meant that the offenders were less likely to be rearrested in
twelve months and this indicates that skills play a vital role in the reduction of recidivism in
juveniles. In the study time does not play a major role in reoffending like skills. Acquiring skills
meant the juveniles released could preoccupy themselves with activities that kept them away
from crime.
However, the study failed to relate the length of sentencing and acceleration of criminal
behavior. In the study by Rhodes et al. (2018) the aim was to determine if the length of prison
sentences decrease or reduce recidivism. The second aim was to see if the length of sentencing
varies from one individual to the other. The federal sentencing structure is the basis of the study.
The results of the study conclude that theoretically imprisonment is a transformative experience
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
5
in the life of the offender. However, the study failed to relate the length of sentencing and
acceleration of criminal behavior. In further arguments, the study indicates that longer sentencing
modestly reduces recidivism by using incapacitation. An increase of prison stay to months
reduces the three-year 20 percent recidivism to 18.7 percent. While from a policy view, prison
sentencing can be reduced without a substantial increase in recidivism
In this study, random judicial assignments are used to determine the effect of length of a
prison sentence on recidivism. Findings in the study prove that there is a marginal decrease in
reoffending at one percent for every added one month of sentencing. Another observation from
the study is that perpetrators that plead guilty are assigned a random judge who provides a
random prison sentence according to his perception. Consistent with the rehabilitation role there
is a reduction of recidivism in the first year an offender is released. High crime rates affect the
sentencing as harsh sentences are given. This leads to a challenge in measuring the effects of the
length of prison and recidivism and penalties on crime rates.
Finally, the United States Sentencing Commission found no difference in the recidivism
of offenders that served their full term and those that were released thirty months earlier through
the Fair Sentencing Act. Both individuals had a recidivism rate of 37.9 percent. The findings are
similar to other studies of cocaine offenders in the Crack Cocaine Amendment of 2007 where
offenders were released early in 2007 and 2008. It was discovered that the recidivism rate after
three years was of release both the comparison and retroactivity group was the same at 39.3
percent and 36.7 percent. In the commissions 2005 publication, three measures of recidivism
were reported namely reincarceration, reconviction and rearrests. Three years after the release it
was discovered that rearrests for federal offenders of crack, cocaine in 2005 was 40.0 percent
similar to the current and 2014 study.
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
In conclusion so many researches and studies have been done in efforts to determine the
relationship of length of sentencing and how it relates to reoffending. One can notice that the
data shows that the results are inconclusive, and there is no concrete relationship between
recidivism and length of sentencing and other factors need to be considered.
6
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
7
References
National Institute of Justice. (2014). Recidivism. Retrieved from
https://www.nij.gov/topics/corrections/recidivism/pages/welcome.aspx
Pew. (2013). Prison Time Served and Recidivism. Retrieved from
https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/fact-sheets/2013/10/08/prison-timeserved-and-recidivism
Pryor Jr, W et al. (2018). Recidivism Among Federal Offenders Receiving Retroactive Sentence
Reductions: The 2011 Fair Sentencing Act Guideline Amendment. United States
Sentencing Commission. Retrieved from
https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/researchpublications/2018/20180328_Recidivism_FSA-Retroactivity.pdf
Rhodes, W., Gaes, G. G., Kling, R., & Cutler, C. (2018). The relationship between prison length
of stay and recidivism: A study using regression discontinuity and instrumental variables
with multiple break points. Criminology & Public Policy, 17(3), 731-769.
Roach, M. A., & Schanzenbach, M. M. (2015). The effect of prison sentence length on
recidivism: Evidence from random judicial assignment. Northwestern Law & Econ
Research Paper, (16-08).
Tonry, M. (2014). Legal and ethical issues in the prediction of recidivism. Federal Sentencing
Reporter, 26(3), 167-176.
Walker, S. C., & Bishop, A. S. (2016). Length of stay, therapeutic change, and recidivism for
incarcerated juvenile offenders. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 55(6), 355-376.
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
Walters, J., P. and Tell, D. (2019). Criminal Justice Reform and the First Step
Act’s Recidivism Reduction Provisions: Preliminary Issues for
Policymakers. Hudson Institute. Retrieved from
https://www.hudson.org/research/14776-criminal-justice-reform-and-thefirst-step-act-s-recidivism-reduction-provisions-preliminary-issues-forpolicymakers
8
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
Short Sentencing and Recidivist
Karla Bedeau
Monroe College
EN 121
1
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
2
Introduction
Should the earlier convictions of the criminal count against offenders during sentencing?
If they are important for the sentencing purpose, how should they be considered? How much
weight should they carry relative to how serious the current offense is? These are some of the
most contentious and oldest questions in the criminal sentencing field and have been contested
and addressed by legislators, criminal practitioner’s scholars as well as jurists for centuries. If an
individual is sentenced to term custody, offenders with earlier convictions ought to be treated
more severely as compared to the first offenders (Walker and Bishop, 2016). A recidivist
premium sentencing command that an offender accumulate more convictions, as the term
implies, the sentence imposed at successive hearings of sentencing gradually becomes more
severe. Offenders with earlier convictions as well as offenders who plan their crimes ought to be
considered more blameworthy and therefore worthy for punishments that are harsher. This
research paper examines the impact of short sentences on recidivists trend of committing crimes.
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
3
Background
Recidivism is related to the act of offenders going back to crime. Many factors are
considered when approaching the issue of ex-convicts reoffending. One factor that has always
been used to relate to the issue is the aspect involving sentencing. This paper will assess how
several studies have been carried out on the topic of length of sentencing and the relation with
recidivism and come up with a conclusion.
As reforms, start being legislated recidivism is one of the primary considerations for their
implementation. In the First Step Act Title I “Recidivism Reduction” requires that the Attorney
General and the Justice Department in consultation with practitioners, experts, and independent
review committees to develop and implement a risk assessment tool that can evaluate individuals
that are incarcerated if they can re-offend after release. The ranking by the risk assessment tool
will be used to provide a classification of offenders as low or minimum recidivism. Credits will
be earnedand successful candidates will be released into rehabilitation programs. Credits will be
used for supervised release or pre-release custody.
Furthermore, in the process of coming up with policies to deal with recidivism some
ethical and legal issues exist (Tonry, 2014). Policies being developed are aimed at providing
alternatives for the prison time in efforts to reduce recidivism. By predicting if an offender will
reoffend is the primary concern when setting up the guidelines by the sentencing commissions.
SHORT SENTENCING AND RECIDIVIST
4
Contradictions exist where other individuals believe that an offender that serves his time outside
the prison is enjoying a quality life in efforts of avoiding reoffending. Recidivists are believed to
reoffend because of lack of education, mental health and work skills. A bigger worry is
developed where the future law abidingness of the offender is more important than the
offenderswell-being. Ethical concerns arise because the offender is now disappearing from the
conversation and being replaced by the risk of him or her involvement in recidivism.
A variety of reasons that form the basis as to why offenders are imprisoned for long
sentences in the United States. In article by Pew Trust (2013) two reasons are explained as the
reasons as to why offenders are sentenced to extended periods in prisons. Two reasons are
identified as the cause of long sentences, which are deterrence and incapacitation. Incapacitation
is a process where offenders are incarcerated to reduce the current activities by keeping the
perpetrators in lock up where they can no longer commit crimes in public. Deterrence is
undertaken to prevent criminal activities in the future or recidivism by applying a high
punishment to crimes to dissuade criminals from being involved in new crime. Many individuals
believe in the notion that longer sentencing is more effective in controlling recidivism because of
criminal age out of the criminal life. Others believe that the longer a person spends in the prison,
the more he loses the supporting mechanisms in the society and becomes hardcore due to
interacting with other criminals.
In an article showing statistics by the Bureau of Justice Statistics Studies, the categories
of offenders that are most likely to be rearrested were property offenders at 82.1 percent of the
total property offenders (National Institute of Justice, 2014). Second, in the category of offenders
were drug offenders at 76.9 percent then public order offenders consti …
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