Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1963506
 


 



Follow the Leader: The Advisability and Propriety of Considering Cost and Recidivism Data at Sentencing


Lynn S. Branham


Saint Louis University - School of Law


Federal Sentencing Reporter, 2012
Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-29

Abstract:     
The Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission has begun to provide judges with information that enables them, before imposing a sentence, to compare the financial costs of several different sentencing options and the recidivism risks they pose. Although this initiative has sparked controversy, I, for one, favor taking steps like this one to help extricate us from the “same ole, same ole” sentencing box in which uninformed, and sometimes misinformed, sentencing decision making is the norm.

This article provides an overview of six of the primary reasons why providing judges some very basic facts about the financial cost of several sentencing options they are mulling over and their effects, in terms of recidivism reduction, is not only appropriate, but laudable. First, judges already engage in cost-benefit assessments, though typically crude ones, when imposing sentences. Second, judges should engage in cost-benefit assessments as part of the sentencing decision-making process. Third, it is advisable and efficient for the financial costs and recidivism risks of various sentencing options to be calculated by experts who then transmit this information to a sentencing judge. Fourth, the consideration by judges of the costs and risks of the varied sanctions that they could impose on a defendant comports with, and indeed furthers, sentencing objectives, including retribution. Fifth, judges’ consideration, at the time of sentencing, of reliable data about the financial costs and recidivism risks of various sentencing alternatives does not usurp legislative prerogatives. And sixth, the open dissemination of information to judges about the financial costs and recidivism risks of differing sentencing options in a case will bring more transparency and accountability into the sentencing process.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 7

Keywords: Recidivism, Sentence Costs, Sentencing, Sentencing Commissions, Sentencing Reform, Transparency in Government

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: November 25, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Branham, Lynn S., Follow the Leader: The Advisability and Propriety of Considering Cost and Recidivism Data at Sentencing. Federal Sentencing Reporter, 2012; Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-29. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1963506

Contact Information

Lynn S. Branham (Contact Author)
Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )
100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108
United States
(314)977-2777 (Phone)
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 403
Downloads: 45

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo6 in 0.234 seconds