Science-Based Sentencing

We in the U.S face a daunting dilemma. We have increased those in our jails and prisons eight-fold since the 1970s. There is a general acknowledgement that that was a serious mistake, that our jails and prisons are overflowing with people who do not need to be there, and who could be dealt with in the community through alternatives to incarceration.

We have developed science-based practices (also called evidence-based practices) for the sentencing of offenders (based on voluminous research), but are still reticent to apply those practices where they will do the most good, in making sentencing decisions. Rational approaches to sentencing that provide different levels of supervision, treatment, rehabilitation, and assistance for felons (and misdemeanants) are attainable and already in effect in jurisdictions across the nation.

The following Twelve-Part Series of Article will lay out what a Science-Based Sentencing System might look like in your jurisdiction:

Part 1: Evidence-Based Sentencing Practices

Part 2: The Single Sentencing Court Team Concept

Part 3: The ‘Specialty Sentencing Court” as a Problem-Solving System

Part 4: Judge-Driven Sentencing Systems

Part 5: Court Monitoring of Sentence Tracks

Part 6: The Components of the Sentencing Track

Part 7: Decision Making in a Sentencing System

Part 8: Reducing Prison terms through Front-End Sentencing

Part 9: Evidence-Based Sentencing Systems are Cost-Effective

Part 10: Dealing with the whole person in sentencing

Part 11: Evidence Based Sentencing as a Hybrid System

Part 12: Back to the Future: Evidence Based Sentencing Systems

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