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
Date Written: 2011
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
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