Wednesday, November 08, 2006

How Sentencing Info Systems Should Be Done

Doug Berman directs us to this article by the MO Sup Crt Chief Justice and chair of its Sentencing Commission describing the "information-based discretionary sentencing system" they've developed there. It really is a must for anyone interested in developing the kind of sentencing information system we've talked about here, linking offender and offense info to guidelines and sentencing histories, with the goal of eventually connecting it all to recidivism data. The last is key. We really don't have a good idea of what sentences are most effective with what offenders, not the way we will be able to once we have this kind of related data infrastructure. And once we can link successes and failures to particular sentences, we can get serious about opting for the most cost-effective, or simply admit that "expressive justice" is always going to win. Go read. It's a big part of corrections sentencing policy's future.

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