U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Recidivism Among Offenders Receiving Retroactive Sentence Reductions: The 2007 Crack Cocaine Amendment

NCJ Number
Kim Steven Hunt, Ph.D.; Andrew Peterson, Ph.D.
Date Published
May 2014
19 pages
This report presents findings on the recidivism of crack-cocaine offenders who were released immediately before and after implementation of the 2007 Crack Cocaine Amendment, which involved the U.S. Sentencing Commission reducing by two levels the base offense levels assigned by the Drug Quantity Table for each quantity of crack cocaine, effective November 1, 2007.
The issue being addressed in this study is whether crack-cocaine offenders who received a reduced sentence retroactively under the amendment were more likely to recidivate than similarly situated offenders who did not receive a reduced sentence. On this issue, the study concluded that there is no evidence that offenders whose sentences were reduced in length pursuant to the amendment had higher recidivism rates than a comparison group of crack-cocaine offenders who were released after serving the longer sentences in force prior to the amendment. The recidivism rates for the two groups were approximately the same, suggesting that the longer sentences were not more effective in reducing recidivism. The recidivism rate for those released retroactively was 43.3 percent, and it was 47.8 percent for the comparison group that served the longer sentences. For the purposes of this study, recidivism was defined as any one of the following three events: a re-conviction for a new offense; a re-arrest with no case disposition information available; or a revocation of an offender's supervised release. Extensive figures and 19 notes