Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2398663
 


 



Shadow Sentencing: The Imposition of Supervised Release


Christine S. Scott-Hayward


California State University, Long Beach - School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management

February 19, 2014

18 Berkeley J. Crim. L. 180, 2014

Abstract:     
More than 95 percent of people sentenced to a term of imprisonment in the federal system are also sentenced to a term of supervised release. Since it was first established in the late 1980s, nearly one million people have been sentenced to federal supervised release. The human and fiscal costs of this widespread imposition are significant. Supervised release substantially restricts an individual’s liberty and people on supervised release receive diminished legal and constitutional protections. The fiscal costs of supervised release are also high, particularly when almost one third of people on supervised release will have their supervision revoked and will return to prison.

Despite the importance of supervised release, little is known about how and why sentencing judges impose supervised release and what purpose it is supposed to serve in the federal criminal justice system. In most cases, supervised release is not mandatory and yet judges consistently fail to exercise their discretion in this area and impose supervised release in virtually all cases. Based on an empirical study of sentencing decisions in the Eastern District of New York, this article uncovers previously unidentified features of supervised release. It finds that judges widely impose supervised release without any apparent consideration of the purpose served by the sentence. This article argues that supervised release is over-used and proposes a new framework for its imposition to ensure that courts only impose supervised release on people who need it.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 51

Keywords: Sentencing, Parole, Supervised Release

JEL Classification: K14

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: February 21, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Scott-Hayward, Christine S., Shadow Sentencing: The Imposition of Supervised Release (February 19, 2014). 18 Berkeley J. Crim. L. 180, 2014. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2398663

Contact Information

Christine Sarah Scott-Hayward (Contact Author)
California State University, Long Beach - School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management ( email )
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840-4601
United States
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