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Punishment

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Trouble With Time Served, Kimberly Ferzan Jul 2023

The Trouble With Time Served, Kimberly Ferzan

All Faculty Scholarship

Every jurisdiction in the United States gives criminal defendants “credit” against their sentence for the time they spend detained pretrial. In a world of mass incarceration and overcriminalization that disproportionately impacts people of color, this practice appears to be a welcome mechanism for mercy and justice. In fact, however, crediting detainees for time served is perverse. It harms the innocent. A defendant who is found not guilty, or whose case is dismissed, gets nothing. Crediting time served also allows the state to avoid internalizing the full costs of pretrial detention, thereby making overinclusive detention standards less expensive. Finally, crediting time …


Against Capital Punishment, Zac Bright, Ben Austin (Editor) Apr 2023

Against Capital Punishment, Zac Bright, Ben Austin (Editor)

Brigham Young University Prelaw Review

Capital punishment has a strong legal precedence in the United States. Capital punishment has been a penal option for those who commit conspicuously wrong acts. For such acts, the punishment seems to be proportional to the crime. In addition to the punishment’s adherence to proportionality, capital punishment mitigates problematic outcomes.

This paper advocates, however, that capital punishment should be classified as “cruel and unusual punishment.” Such violation of the eighth amendment delegitimizes capital punishment. Consequently, The Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 should no longer be considered a valid law because of its constitutional violation.


Juvenile Solitary Confinement And The Eighth Amendment, Taylor R. Graves Apr 2022

Juvenile Solitary Confinement And The Eighth Amendment, Taylor R. Graves

Honors Thesis

This literature review examines the practice of juvenile solitary confinement, applies the United States Supreme Court’s Eighth Amendment jurisprudence, argues that the practice should be declared unconstitutional as a violation of the Eighth Amendment, and calls for a categorical ban. The Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment states, “nor [shall] cruel and unusual punishments [be] inflicted.” U.S. Const. amend. VIII. Juvenile solitary confinement is cruel and unusual, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, because juveniles are different. The United States Supreme Court has long recognized that juveniles should not be held to the same standards of …


Proportionality, Constraint, And Culpability, Mitchell N. Berman Sep 2021

Proportionality, Constraint, And Culpability, Mitchell N. Berman

All Faculty Scholarship

Philosophers of criminal punishment widely agree that criminal punishment should be “proportional” to the “seriousness” of the offense. But this apparent consensus is only superficial, masking significant dissensus below the surface. Proposed proportionality principles differ on several distinct dimensions, including: (1) regarding which offense or offender properties determine offense “seriousness” and thus constitute a proportionality relatum; (2) regarding whether punishment is objectionably disproportionate only when excessively severe, or also when excessively lenient; and (3) regarding whether the principle can deliver absolute (“cardinal”) judgments, or only comparative (“ordinal”) ones. This essay proposes that these differences cannot be successfully adjudicated, and one …


After The Crime: Rewarding Offenders’ Positive Post-Offense Conduct, Paul H. Robinson, Muhammad Sarahne Jul 2021

After The Crime: Rewarding Offenders’ Positive Post-Offense Conduct, Paul H. Robinson, Muhammad Sarahne

All Faculty Scholarship

While an offender’s conduct before and during the crime is the traditional focus of criminal law and sentencing rules, an examination of post-offense conduct can also be important in promoting criminal justice goals. After the crime, different offenders make different choices and have different experiences, and those differences can suggest appropriately different treatment by judges, correctional officials, probation and parole supervisors, and other decision-makers in the criminal justice system.

Positive post-offense conduct ought to be acknowledged and rewarded, not only to encourage it but also as a matter of fair and just treatment. This essay describes four kinds of positive …


The Robber Wants To Be Punished, Uri Weiss Jan 2021

The Robber Wants To Be Punished, Uri Weiss

Touro Law Review

It is a commonly held intuition that increasing punishment leads to less crime. Let us move our glance from the punishment for the crime itself to the punishment for the attempt to commit a crime, or to the punishment for the threat to carry it out. We argue that the greater the punishment for the attempted robbery, i.e., for the threat, "give me your money or else," the greater the number of robberies and threats there will be. The punishment for the threat makes the withdrawal from it more expensive for the criminal, making the relative cost of committing the …


Is Executive Function The Universal Acid?, Stephen J. Morse Nov 2020

Is Executive Function The Universal Acid?, Stephen J. Morse

All Faculty Scholarship

This essay responds to Hirstein, Sifferd and Fagan’s book, Responsible Brains (MIT Press, 2018), which claims that executive function is the guiding mechanism that supports both responsible agency and the necessity for some excuses. In contrast, I suggest that executive function is not the universal acid and the neuroscience at present contributes almost nothing to the necessary psychological level of explanation and analysis. To the extent neuroscience can be useful, it is virtually entirely dependent on well-validated psychology to correlate with the neuroscientific variables under investigation. The essay considers what executive function is and what the neuroscience adds to our …


Evidence, Arrest Circumstances, And Felony Cocaine Case Processing, Jacqueline G. Lee, Alexander Testa Apr 2020

Evidence, Arrest Circumstances, And Felony Cocaine Case Processing, Jacqueline G. Lee, Alexander Testa

Criminal Justice Faculty Publications and Presentations

Case evidence and situational arrest characteristics are widely speculated to influence courtroom actor decisions, yet such measures are infrequently included in research. Using new data on felony cocaine cases from an urban county in a Southern non-guideline state, this study examines how physical evidence and arrest circumstances affect three stages of case processing: initial charge type, charge reduction, and sentence length. The influence of evidence appeared strongest at the early stage when prosecutors chose the appropriate charge, though certain evidentiary and arrest measures continued to influence later decisions. Charge reductions were driven mostly by legal factors, and while guilt should …


From The Legal Literature: Disentangling Prison And Punishment, Francesca Laguardia Jan 2020

From The Legal Literature: Disentangling Prison And Punishment, Francesca Laguardia

Department of Justice Studies Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works

No abstract provided.


Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh Oct 2019

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh

Christopher Salvatore

Virtual life sentences are sentences with a term of years that exceed an individual’s natural life expectancy. This exploratory study is one of the first to collect data that establish the existence, prevalence, and scope of virtual life sentences in state prisons in the United States. Initial data reveal that more than 31,000 people in 26 states are serving virtual life sentences for violent and nonviolent offenses, and suggest racial disparities in the distribution of these sentences. This study also presents potential policy implications and suggestions for future research.


‘It’S Kinda Punishment’: Tandem Logics And Penultimate Power In The Penal Voluntary Sector For Canadian Youth, Abigail Salole Sep 2019

‘It’S Kinda Punishment’: Tandem Logics And Penultimate Power In The Penal Voluntary Sector For Canadian Youth, Abigail Salole

Publications and Scholarship

This paper draws on original empirical research in Ontario, Canada which analyses penal voluntary sector practice with youth in conflict with the law. I illustrate how youth penal voluntary sector practice (YPVS) operates alongside, or in tandem with the statutory criminal justice system. I argue that examining the PVS and the statutory criminal justice system simultaneously, or in tandem, provides fuller understandings of PVS inclusionary (and exclusionary) control practices (Tomczak and Thompson 2017). I introduce the concept of penultimate power, which demonstrates the ability of PVS workers to trigger criminal justice system response toward a young person in conflict …


In Fear We Trust: Anxious Political Rhetoric & The Politics Of Punishment, 1960s-80s, Stella Michelle Frank Jan 2019

In Fear We Trust: Anxious Political Rhetoric & The Politics Of Punishment, 1960s-80s, Stella Michelle Frank

Senior Projects Spring 2019

Senior Project submitted to The Division of Social Studies of Bard College.


Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts Jan 2019

Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts

All Faculty Scholarship

In this Foreword, I make the case for an abolition constitutionalism that attends to the theorizing of prison abolitionists. In Part I, I provide a summary of prison abolition theory and highlight its foundational tenets that engage with the institution of slavery and its eradication. I discuss how abolition theorists view the current prison industrial complex as originating in, though distinct from, racialized chattel slavery and the racial capitalist regime that relied on and sustained it, and their movement as completing the “unfinished liberation” sought by slavery abolitionists in the past. Part II considers whether the U.S. Constitution is an …


Technologically Distorted Conceptions Of Punishment, Jessica M. Eaglin Jan 2019

Technologically Distorted Conceptions Of Punishment, Jessica M. Eaglin

Articles by Maurer Faculty

Much recent work in academic literature and policy discussions suggests that the proliferation of actuarial — meaning statistical — assessments of a defendant’s recidivism risk in state sentencing structures is problematic. Yet scholars and policymakers focus on changes in technology over time while ignoring the effects of these tools on society. This Article shifts the focus away from technology to society in order to reframe debates. It asserts that sentencing technologies subtly change key social concepts that shape punishment and society. These same conceptual transformations preserve problematic features of the sociohistorical phenomenon of mass incarceration. By connecting technological interventions and …


Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh Dec 2018

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh

Jessica S. Henry

Virtual life sentences are sentences with a term of years that exceed an individual’s natural life expectancy. This exploratory study is one of the first to collect data that establish the existence, prevalence, and scope of virtual life sentences in state prisons in the United States. Initial data reveal that more than 31,000 people in 26 states are serving virtual life sentences for violent and nonviolent offenses, and suggest racial disparities in the distribution of these sentences. This study also presents potential policy implications and suggestions for future research.


"I Wanted Them To Be Punished Or At Least Ask Us For Forgiveness”: Justice Interests Of Female Victim-Survivors Of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence And Their Experiences With Gacaca, Judith Rafferty Dec 2018

"I Wanted Them To Be Punished Or At Least Ask Us For Forgiveness”: Justice Interests Of Female Victim-Survivors Of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence And Their Experiences With Gacaca, Judith Rafferty

Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal

Survivors of human rights abuses need to experience a sense of justice to support their individual recovery. Women who have experienced conflict-related sexual violence have specific justice interests that are distinct from those of survivors of other abuses. This article focuses on justice interests of Rwandan women who experienced sexual violence during the genocide in Rwanda and who had their cases tried in gacaca community courts between 2008 and 2012. The article discusses two justice interests that emerged during interviews with 23 Rwandan women about their gacaca experience. These interests include the punishment of perpetrators and perpetrators taking responsibility for …


Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh Apr 2018

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh

Department of Justice Studies Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works

Virtual life sentences are sentences with a term of years that exceed an individual’s natural life expectancy. This exploratory study is one of the first to collect data that establish the existence, prevalence, and scope of virtual life sentences in state prisons in the United States. Initial data reveal that more than 31,000 people in 26 states are serving virtual life sentences for violent and nonviolent offenses, and suggest racial disparities in the distribution of these sentences. This study also presents potential policy implications and suggestions for future research.


The Just Response To Crime: To Harm Or To Heal?, Matthew M. Silberstein Apr 2018

The Just Response To Crime: To Harm Or To Heal?, Matthew M. Silberstein

Philosophy Department Student Scholarship

In the realm of criminal justice, Western society has primarily relied on retributive justice system. A retributive system uses punishment as the standard response to crime. In recent years, some have formulated a different criminal justice system, that of restorative justice. Rather than punishment, restorative justice proponents argue that justice is achieved in the aftermath of crime by healing the trauma incurred by crime. The aim of this project is to articulate the value of restorative justice and evaluate its prospects.


Moral Mode Switching: From Punishment To Public Health, Stephen Koppel Feb 2018

Moral Mode Switching: From Punishment To Public Health, Stephen Koppel

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

A public health response to drug offenses has potential to improve both public safety and public health. However, the public’s desire for retribution represents a possible hindrance to reform. Relying on dual-process theory of moral decision-making, this dissertation examines agreement among laypeople about the relative blame deserved for various crime types, and probes several possible predictors of support—the need for cognition (“NFC”), intergroup bias, and free-will doubt—for retributive as well as consequentialist responses to crime. Findings from several web-based experiments show: (a) in comparison to core crimes (eg., murder) substantially less agreement about the relative blame deserved for noncore crimes …


African Americans And Punishment For Crime: A Critique Of Mainstream And Neoliberal Discourses, Jason M. Williams, Nishaun Tarae Battle Sep 2017

African Americans And Punishment For Crime: A Critique Of Mainstream And Neoliberal Discourses, Jason M. Williams, Nishaun Tarae Battle

Department of Justice Studies Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works

Understandings of punishment within the criminological enterprise have failed to capture the nuances associated with experiencing punishment. Moreover, mainstream academic discourses are inherently anachronistic in their conclusions on punishment, thus leaving significant gaps to be filled. One such gap is that of racialized history. This article attempts to make sense of punishment discourses (past and present) by situating them in their proper context. We argue that punishment, in particular for Blacks, is ideological and longstanding. Moreover, we posit that the prolonged punishment of Blacks is hyper manifested in contemporary society via neoliberal logic that has increasingly disabled race as a …


Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2017

Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson

All Faculty Scholarship

It is easy to understand the apparent appeal of strict liability to policymakers and legal reformers seeking to reduce crime: if the criminal law can do away with its traditional culpability requirement, it can increase the likelihood of conviction and punishment of those who engage in prohibited conduct or bring about prohibited harm or evil. And such an increase in punishment rate can enhance the crime-control effectiveness of a system built upon general deterrence or incapacitation of the dangerous. Similar arguments support the use of criminal liability for regulatory offenses. Greater punishment rates suggest greater compliance.

But this analysis fails …


What Impact Is Felony Disenfranchisement Having On Hispanics In Florida?, Angel E. Sanchez Jan 2017

What Impact Is Felony Disenfranchisement Having On Hispanics In Florida?, Angel E. Sanchez

Honors Undergraduate Theses

This research produces original empirical estimates of Hispanics in Florida’s Dept. of Corrections (FDOC) and uses those estimates to measure the impact felony disenfranchisement is having on Hispanics in Florida. Research institutions find that data on Hispanics in the criminal justice system, particularly in Florida, is either lacking or inaccurate. This research addresses this problem by applying an optimal surname list method using Census Bureau data and Bayes Theorem to produce an empirical estimate of Hispanics in FDOC’s data. Using the Hispanic rate derived from the empirical FDOC analysis, the rate of Hispanics in the disenfranchised population is estimated. The …


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. …


Predictive Analytics' Punishment Mismatch, Jessica M. Eaglin Jan 2017

Predictive Analytics' Punishment Mismatch, Jessica M. Eaglin

Articles by Maurer Faculty

No abstract provided.


Contemporary Soviet Criminal Law: An Analysis Of The General Principles And Major Institutions Of Post-1958 Soviet Criminal Law, Chris Osakwe Dec 2016

Contemporary Soviet Criminal Law: An Analysis Of The General Principles And Major Institutions Of Post-1958 Soviet Criminal Law, Chris Osakwe

Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law

No abstract provided.


Punishing Genocide: A Comparative Empirical Analysis Of Sentencing Laws And Practices At The International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda (Ictr), Rwandan Domestic Courts, And Gacaca Courts, Barbora Hola, Hollie Nyseth Brehm Dec 2016

Punishing Genocide: A Comparative Empirical Analysis Of Sentencing Laws And Practices At The International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda (Ictr), Rwandan Domestic Courts, And Gacaca Courts, Barbora Hola, Hollie Nyseth Brehm

Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal

This article compares sentencing of those convicted of participation in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. With over one million people facing trial, Rwanda constitutes the world’s most comprehensive case of criminal accountability after genocide and presents an important case study of punishing genocide. Criminal courts at three different levels— international, domestic, and local—sought justice in the aftermath of the violence. In order to compare punishment at each level, we analyze an unprecedented database of sentences given by the ICTR, the Rwandan domestic courts, and Rwanda’s Gacaca courts. The analysis demonstrates that sentencing varied across the three levels—ranging from limited time …


Actions Speak Louder Than Images: The Use Of Neuroscientific Evidence In Criminal Cases, Stephen J. Morse Jun 2016

Actions Speak Louder Than Images: The Use Of Neuroscientific Evidence In Criminal Cases, Stephen J. Morse

All Faculty Scholarship

This invited commentary for Journal of Law & the Biosciences considers four empirical studies previously published in the journal of the reception of neuroscientific evidence in criminal cases in the United States, Canada, England and Wales, and the Netherlands. There are conceded methodological problems with all, but the data are nonetheless instructive and suggestive. The thesis of the comment is that the courts are committing the same errors that have bedeviled the reception of psychiatric and psychological evidence. There is insufficient caution about the state of the science, and more importantly, there is insufficient understanding of the relevance of the …


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

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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


Improving Economic Sanctions In The States, Jessica M. Eaglin Jan 2015

Improving Economic Sanctions In The States, Jessica M. Eaglin

Articles by Maurer Faculty

No abstract provided.


Discounting And Criminals' Implied Risk Preferences, Murat C. Mungan, Jonathan Klick Jan 2015

Discounting And Criminals' Implied Risk Preferences, Murat C. Mungan, Jonathan Klick

All Faculty Scholarship

It is commonly assumed that potential offenders are more responsive to increases in the certainty than increases in the severity of punishment. An important implication of this assumption within the Beckerian law enforcement model is that criminals are risk-seeking. This note adds to existing literature by showing that offenders who discount future monetary benefits can be more responsive to the certainty rather than the severity of punishment, even when they are risk averse, and even when their disutility from imprisonment rises proportionally (or more than proportionally) with the length of the sentence.