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Ultimate Impacts of Sentencing Reforms and Speedy Trial Laws: A User's Guide to the Machine-Readable Files and Documentation and Codebook

NCJ Number
Date Published
13 pages
The certainty and promptness of punishment, hypothesized to be important variables in deterring crime, resulted in the widespread adoption of sentencing reforms and speedy trial laws in the 1970s and early 1980s.
To investigate whether these reforms affected crime rates, prison admissions, and prison populations, a pooled time series cross-section design was employed covering the 1969-1989 period. Data were obtained on 1,050 cases and 31 variables, including State name, crime reports, economic conditions, population, prison population, prison departures, and prison admissions. The study sought to investigate relationships between sentencing reforms and speedy trial laws and crime rates and the extent to which differences in crime rates could be explained by population age structure and economic conditions. Crime rates were analyzed for murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, property offenses, burglary, larceny and theft, and motor vehicle theft. Although data resulting from the analysis are tabulated separately, a data completeness report and a codebook are included. 1 reference and 6 tables

Date Published: January 1, 1991