The Severity of Intermediate Penal Sanctions: A Psychophysical Scaling Approach for Obtaining Community Perceptions
Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Vol. 11, pp. 71-95, 1995
24 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2005 Last revised: 10 Nov 2009
Date Written: 1995
The use of intensive supervision programs (ISPs) and other forms of intermediate penal sanctions is increasing in the United States. This paper describes a preliminary investigation of the extent to which informed New Jersey residents believe that intermediate sanctions that are currently being implemented in their state are severe. Using cross-modality matching of magnitude estimation techniques adopted from psychophysics, we obtained severity ratings of 32 sentences across six sentencing modalities (ISPs, probation, imprisonment, home detention, weekend sentencing, and fines) from respondents who had been briefed beforehand about what these sentences entail. Results indicate that respondents agree that ISPs, weekend sentencing, and home detection have retributive bite and may be accepted as sentences in their own right. Probation was seen as being relatively lenient, and imprisonment as highly severe.
JEL Classification: k14
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