Category Archives: Fees and Costs

Massachusetts Trial Court Offers Evidence-Based Best Sentencing Practices

law

 

The Massachusetts Trial Court departments that have a major role in sentencing have produced sentencing best practices documents. This is a significant achievement. Here is an article describing the key Best Practice Principles. They are the product of more than a year of hard work by broad-based committees and are extraordinary data-driven consensus best practices recommendations for judges and practitioners.  Here is the Superior Court PDF including the Best Practice Principles and Commentary, and the website for all of the documents.

The Economics of Crime

money.jpgThe George Mason University School of Law Judicial Education Program presented an excellent program on the economics of crime, formally titled “Judicial Symposium on Using the Law and Economics to Reform the System of Criminal Justice: Theory, Empirical Evidence and Some Applications. There was lots of thought provoking material presented including that incarceration and other sanctions can be viewed much as in torts law, as costs that are part of a cost-benefit analysis. The upshot is that if some of our criminal justice dollars were spent elsewhere, we would have less crime and fewer victims. There was lots of great information conveyed in this conference with the entire program on video on the web.

In particular see the presentations by Jonathan Klick (University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Rand Corporation) on what I’m calling cost-benefit analysis of crime, Paul Larkin (Heritage Foundation) on over-criminalization, and Alexes Harris (University of Washington), on fees on individuals in the criminal justice system. Here is the entire conference on video and here is the entire package of pre-conference materials. Here are some selected notes on the program. This is one of the top programs I’ve seen recently on this subject so I recommend watching the videos. Good work by the George Mason University School of Law, Law and Economics Center and Judicial Education Program and their partners.

 

Shorter, More Targeted Probation Terms?

imprint-868979_1280

Here’s a National Institute of Corrections article that has many useful and well accepted concepts. These include Risk, Needs and Responsivity and other best practices. These are difficult to implement in a probation resource-poor environment. Also note on page 15 that the probation terms cited as examples of best practices are a year or shorter. The focus of the article is dosage probation which is supported by drilling down into the probationer’s circumstances and implementing zero-based probation condition setting; set only probation conditions for which the need/responsivity for which is firmly established.

National Institute of Corrections Dosage Probation Article Carter Sankovitz Center for Effective Public Policy