Massachusetts Trial Court Offers Evidence-Based Best Sentencing Practices

Data-driven best practices recommendations for judges and practitioners

Incarceration of Hispanics in MA

July 2016 Update: The Sentencing Project has issued a comprehensive report on race and incarceration. Here is the PDF of the report (The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prison), and here is the website introducing the report. It suggests that Massachusetts has the highest ratio of disparity of Hispanic to white incarceration;… Continue reading Incarceration of Hispanics in MA

The Economics of Crime

The 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… Continue reading The Economics of Crime

Cautions on Data-Driven Sentencing

This article by Cecilia Klingele of the University of Wisconsin Law School in the Notre Dame Law Review cautions against over-reliance on metrics and cost-benefit analyses within the criminal justice system, as she writes: "Talk of data and efficiencies and actuarial tools is cool and detached, and can rise above some of the heated partisan… Continue reading Cautions on Data-Driven Sentencing

Public Health Approach to Incarceration

This is an interesting article from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty. It gives a public health approach to incarceration, one that is a bit different than those of us in criminal justice system are used to. Here are some quotes: ". . . Research also shows that even after… Continue reading Public Health Approach to Incarceration

What Caused the Crime Decline?

  This small to medium-sized 2015 PDF-book from the Brennan Center at New York University subjects the possible causes of the large crime decline to a multi-variable regression analysis. It suggests that increases in incarceration will not reduce crime, and that the historical crime decline of the last 30 years is due to many factors:… Continue reading What Caused the Crime Decline?

Shorter, More Targeted Probation Terms?

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.… Continue reading Shorter, More Targeted Probation Terms?