Judging the Use of Risk Assessment in Sentencing

15 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2019

See all articles by Brandon L. Garrett

Brandon L. Garrett

Duke University School of Law

John Monahan

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: August 14, 2019


Judges are using risk assessment instruments in criminal cases more than ever before. The role of risk assessment is increasingly prominent at all stages of the criminal justice system, including policing, pretrial detention, sentencing, corrections, and parole. In its 2017 revision, the Model Penal Code prominently endorsed consideration of risk in the sentencing process, and specifically, to potentially divert lower-risk defendants to reduced or alternative sentences. The 2018 FIRST STEP Act, perhaps the most far-reaching federal sentencing reform in a generation, mentions risk no less than one hundred times, and relies on risk assessments to allocate prison programming and prisoner release. In this Article, we focus on the role of a sentencing judge in using risk assessment.

Keywords: risk assessment, alternative sentences, First Step Act

Suggested Citation

Garrett, Brandon L. and Monahan, John, Judging the Use of Risk Assessment in Sentencing (August 14, 2019). Judicature, Forthcoming, Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2019-45, Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2019-54, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3437416

Brandon L. Garrett (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States
919-613-7090 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.brandonlgarrett.com/

John Monahan

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-3632 (Phone)

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