Reform in Motion: The Promise and Perils of Incorporating Risk Assessments and Cost-Benefit Analysis into Pennsylvania Sentencing

44 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2012 Last revised: 22 Dec 2012

Jordan Hyatt

University of Pennsylvania - Jerry Lee Center of Criminology

Steven L. Chanenson

Villanova University School of Law

Mark H. Bergstrom

Pennsylvania State University

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Actuarial risk assessment and cost-benefit analyses have become increasingly commonplace in many areas of criminal justice. The integration of these tools in sentencing represents a natural and logical next step. In Pennsylvania, the pace of this development has recently accelerated, as reform legislation now mandates the inclusion of actuarial methodologies into the sentencing architecture. This article considers the promises and the perils of this integration in light of Pennsylvania’s sentencing structure. The authors conclude by presenting four key questions that legislators in Pennsylvania- as well as other jurisdictions beginning to addresses the use of empirical data in sentencing- should consider before implementation.

Keywords: criminal law, sentencing, punishment, corrections, sentencing guidelines, empirical, risk assessment, actuarial, incarceration, prison

Suggested Citation

Hyatt, Jordan and Chanenson, Steven L. and Bergstrom, Mark H., Reform in Motion: The Promise and Perils of Incorporating Risk Assessments and Cost-Benefit Analysis into Pennsylvania Sentencing (2011). Duquesne University Law Review, Vol. 49, 2011; Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2013-3010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2190533

Jordan Hyatt

University of Pennsylvania - Jerry Lee Center of Criminology ( email )

483 McNeil Building
3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6286
United States

Steven L. Chanenson (Contact Author)

Villanova University School of Law ( email )

299 N. Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085
United States
610-519-7459 (Phone)
610-519-6472 (Fax)

Mark H. Bergstrom

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

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