The Impact of Changes in Pennsylvania's Sentencing Guidelines, 1991-2000

Mindy Wilson, The Pennsylvania State University
John H. Kramer, The Pennsylvania State University
Brian Daniel Johnson, University of Maryland at College Park
Jeffery T. Ulmer, The Pennsylvania State University

Recently Engen and Steen (2000) published an examination of the impact of guideline changes inWashington for drug offenders. We have conducted a more comprehensive assessment of significant guideline changes to Pennsylvania's sentencing guidelines that occurred in 1994 and 1997. The study examines such guideline changes as the impact of changing guideline ranges that permit incarceration to preseumptive non-confinement, providing structured drug treatment options to county and state incarceration, and narrowing of guideline ranges. The assessment tests the impact of these changes. Overall, we find that significant sentencing shifts occurred for all but those areas of the matrix where the guidelines provided for drug treatment alternatives to state incarceration.

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Updated 05/20/2006