Sentencing Guidelines: Measuring the Incapacitation Payoff and Prison Cost

Miles D. Harer, The U.S. Sentencing Commission
Linda D. Maxfield, U.S. Sentencing Commission
Charles Loeffler, U.S. Sentencing Commission

Among other objectives, the 1984 Federal Comprehensive Crime Control Act instructed the United States Sentencing Commission to consider the Sentencing Guideline's crime incapacitation effects. Toward meeting this goal, we employ survival analysis and mixture models in both profiling group specific federal offender life course offending trajectories, and in estimating the number of crimes incapacitated under guideline prison sentences offenders receive. Additionally, we describe methods for linking the estimated crimes incapacitated under the guideline sentences considered to a simulation model estimating the prison beds needed to do so.

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Updated 05/20/2006