Sentencing Practices in the District of Columbia: Comparisons With Other Jurisdictions, 1993-2000

Chanchalat Chanhatasilpa, D.C. Advisory Commission on Sentencing
James M. Cronin, D.C. Advisory Commission on Sentencing
Kim S. Hunt, D.C. Advisory Commission on Sentencing

The District of Columbia's criminal justice system was restructured following congress' enactment of the National Capital Revitalization Act of 1997, which governs sentencing of all felony offenses committed on or after August 5, 2000. On this date, the D.C. sentencing structure went from one of indeterminate sentencing with parole to determine sentencing with a system of supervised release. The Advisory Commission on Sentencing is required to 1) study the indeterminate sentencing system and 2) track future changes in sentencing practices. This paper discusses the result of the former. The paper describes the indeterminate sentencing practices in D.C. between 1993 and 2000, including the number of offenders sentenced, type of sentencer, the length of sentence imposed, and variables affecting sentencing decisions. Additionally, the paper compares these practices and factors in D.C. with selected Maryland Counties. Based on this analysis, policy implications will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006