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Prison Sentences and Time Served for Violence

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1995
3 pages
L A Greenfeld
Publication Series
Publication Type
Based on data collected from States by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, this report examines the relationship between the sentence received and time served prior to first release for inmates sentenced for violent offenses.
In 1992, 38 States and the District of Columbia participated in the National Corrections Reporting Program, which covered 93 percent of State prison admissions nationwide and 86 percent of State prison releases. Although the length of the sentence received was obtained for both groups of inmates, time served, including jail credits, was only obtainable for those released from prison. For those admitted to prisons in 1992, States provided a prediction of the expected minimum time to be served. Findings show that violent offenders released from State prisons in 1992 served 48 percent of the sentence they had received, an average of 43 months in confinement, both jail and prison, on an average sentence of 89 months. The finding that just under half the sentence will be served in confinement was confirmed through analysis of self-reports of a national sample of State prisoners. An examination of prison-release practices for violent offenders in 31 States shows wide disparity across the States in sentence length, but substantially less disparity and greater consensus on the duration of time spent in confinement. 7 tables
Date Created: December 28, 2009