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Full-Text Articles in Law

Rationing Criminal Justice, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2017

Rationing Criminal Justice, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

All Faculty Scholarship

Of the many diagnoses of American criminal justice’s ills, few focus on externalities. Yet American criminal justice systematically overpunishes in large part because few mechanisms exist to force consideration of the full social costs of criminal justice interventions. Actors often lack good information or incentives to minimize the harms they impose. Part of the problem is structural: criminal justice is fragmented vertically among governments, horizontally among agencies, and individually among self-interested actors. Part is a matter of focus: doctrinally and pragmatically, actors overwhelmingly view each case as an isolated, short-term transaction to the exclusion of broader, long-term, and aggregate effects. …


What's Wrong With Sentencing Equality?, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2016

What's Wrong With Sentencing Equality?, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

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Equality in criminal sentencing often translates into equalizing outcomes and stamping out variations, whether race-based, geographic, or random. This approach conflates the concept of equality with one contestable conception focused on outputs and numbers, not inputs and processes. Racial equality is crucial, but a concern with eliminating racism has hypertrophied well beyond race. Equalizing outcomes seems appealing as a neutral way to dodge contentious substantive policy debates about the purposes of punishment. But it actually privileges deterrence and incapacitation over rehabilitation, subjective elements of retribution, and procedural justice, and it provides little normative guidance for punishment. It also has unintended …


Equitable Fiscal Regionalism, Matthew J. Parlow Dec 2011

Equitable Fiscal Regionalism, Matthew J. Parlow

Matthew Parlow

Due to suburbanization and white flight, metropolitan regions suffer from great fiscal inequality. Wealthier, and oftentimes white, suburbs are able to keep their tax burdens low and receive high quality government services. In contrast, central cities, with many poorer and ethnic minority communities, face eroding tax bases and increased demand for social services. In response to this fiscal dilemma, central cities spend money to construct and operate assets, such as a sports stadium or music hall, in the hopes of spurring economic development that can create job opportunities for residents and increased tax revenues for the city. While such assets …