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Full-Text Articles in Law

Institutional Coordination And Sentencing Reform, Daniel C. Richman Jan 2006

Institutional Coordination And Sentencing Reform, Daniel C. Richman

Faculty Scholarship

Deciding how much time a person should spend in prison for a serious crime is an inherently moral and political act. And it is certainly coldhearted and philosophically problematic to view sentencing as just an agency problem with criminal defendants as objects of a system in which prison terms are simply outputs. So I will not even try to justify resorting to a narrow institutional perspective as a normative matter. But, for better or worse, those political actors with the greatest influence on sentencing regimes have to think in aggregate terms. While there is considerable normative appeal to the idea …


Death And Deterrence Redux: Science, Law And Causal Reasoning On Capital Punishment, Jeffrey Fagan Jan 2006

Death And Deterrence Redux: Science, Law And Causal Reasoning On Capital Punishment, Jeffrey Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

The essay shows that the new deterrence studies are fraught with numerous technical and conceptual errors: inappropriate methods of statistical analysis, failures to consider several relevant factors that drive murder rates such as drug epidemics, missing data on key variables in key states, the tyranny of a few outlier states and years, weak to non-existent tests of concurrent effects of incarceration, statistical confounding of murder rates with death sentences, failure to consider the general performance of the criminal justice system, artifactual results from truncated time frames, and the absence of any direct test of the components of contemporary theoretical constructions …


Embracing Chance: Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2006

Embracing Chance: Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Since the modern era, the discourse of punishment has cycled through three sets of questions. The first, born of the Enlightenment itself, asked: On what ground does the sovereign have the right to punish? Nietzsche most forcefully, but others as well, argued that the question itself begged its own answer. The right to punish, they suggested, is what defines sovereignty, and as such, can never serve to limit sovereign power. With the birth of the social sciences, this skepticism gave rise to a second set of questions: What then is the true function of punishment? What is it that we …


From The Asylum To The Prison: Rethinking The Incarceration Revolution, Bernard Harcourt Jan 2006

From The Asylum To The Prison: Rethinking The Incarceration Revolution, Bernard Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

The incarceration revolution of the late twentieth century fueled ongoing research on the relationship between rates of incarceration and crime, unemployment, education, and other social indicators. In this research, the variable intended to capture the level of confinement in society was conceptualized and measured as the rate of incarceration in state and federal prisons and county jails. This, however, fails to take account of other equally important forms of confinement, especially commitment to mental hospitals and asylums.

When the data on mental hospitalization rates are combined with the data on imprisonment rates for the period 1928 through 2000, the incarceration …


Crime And Punishment In Taxation: Deceit, Deterrence, And The Self-Adjusting Penalty, Alex Raskolnikov Jan 2006

Crime And Punishment In Taxation: Deceit, Deterrence, And The Self-Adjusting Penalty, Alex Raskolnikov

Faculty Scholarship

Avoidance and evasion continue to frustrate the government's efforts to collect much-needed tax revenues. This Article articulates one of the reasons for this lack of success and proposes a new type of penalty that would strengthen tax enforcement while improving efficiency. Economic analysis of deterrence suggests that rational taxpayers choose avoidance and evasion strategies based on expected rather than nominal sanctions. I argue that many taxpayers do just that. Because the probability of detection varies dramatically among different items on a tax return while nominal penalties do not take the likelihood of detection into account, expected penalties for inconspicuous noncompliance …


The Past, Present, And Future Of Violent Crime Federalism, Daniel C. Richman Jan 2006

The Past, Present, And Future Of Violent Crime Federalism, Daniel C. Richman

Faculty Scholarship

The history of the federal involvement in violent crime frequently is told as one of entrepreneurial or opportunistic action by presidential administrations and Congress. The problem with this story, however, is that it treats state and local governments as objects of federal initiatives, not as independent agents. Appreciating that state and local governments courted and benefited from the federal interest is important for understanding the past two decades, but also for understanding the institutional strains created by the absolute priority the feds have given to counterterrorism since September 11, 2001. Intergovernmental relations are at a crossroads. For two decades, the …