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

Truth in Sentencing in State Prisons

NCJ Number
P M Ditton; D J Wilson
Date Published
January 1999
16 pages
This paper reviews three decades of sentencing reform, with attention to the nature and impact of truth-in-sentencing statutes first enacted in the States in 1984.

Describes the development and use of truth-in-sentencing (TIS) laws and presents data on the growing number of States that have adopted TIS and the increasing amount of time offenders are serving in State prisons. Trend data from 1990 to 1996 describe average time served and percent of sentence served by released offenders, average sentence length of new admissions to prisons, and estimates of the minimum time inmates are expected to serve until release. Offense distributions on admission and release data are provided by sex, race, and Hispanic origin. Data are also presented on the States that have qualified for the TIS portion of the Federal Violent Offender Incarceration/Truth in Sentencing incentive grant program, along with other TIS States.

Additional detail on subjects covered in this report is available in a series of spreadsheets located in the Crime & Justice Electronic Data Abstracts.