Responses to More Severe Punishment in the Courtroom: Evidence from Truth-in-Sentencing Laws

CERGE-EI Working Paper Series No. 403

50 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2010

See all articles by Fusako Tsuchimoto

Fusako Tsuchimoto

Charles University in Prague - CERGE-EI (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute)

Libor Dusek

University of Economics, Prague

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 1, 2009

Abstract

We investigate behavioral responses of judges and prosecutors to more severe punishments by analyzing the effects of Truth-in-Sentencing (TIS) laws in a large sample of individual criminal cases. The TIS laws raised effective punishment by requiring offenders to serve at least 85% of their imposed sentence in prison. Differences between the U.S. states in the timing of adoption and the types of crimes covered provide a source of identification. The key findings are: (1) The TIS laws reduced the probability that an arrested offender is eventually convicted by 25% through an increase in the probability that the case is dismissed, a reduction in the probability that the defendant pleads guilty, and a reduction in the probability that the defendant is convicted at trial. (2) The TIS laws the reduced the imposed sentence that a defendant may expect upon arrest by 14%. The behavioral responses are empirically important to partially mitigate the intended deterrent effect of the TIS laws.

Keywords: criminal procedure, criminal law, sentencing, Truth-in-Sentencing laws

JEL Classification: K, K41, K14

Suggested Citation

Tsuchimoto, Fusako and Dusek, Libor, Responses to More Severe Punishment in the Courtroom: Evidence from Truth-in-Sentencing Laws (December 1, 2009). CERGE-EI Working Paper Series No. 403. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1535722 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1535722

Fusako Tsuchimoto (Contact Author)

Charles University in Prague - CERGE-EI (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute) ( email )

Politickych veznu 7
Prague 1, 111 21
Czech Republic

HOME PAGE: http://www.cerge-ei.cz

Libor Dusek

University of Economics, Prague ( email )

nam. W.Churchilla 4
Prague 3, 130 67
Czech Republic

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