CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Monahan et al. on Judicial Appraisals of Risk Assessment in Sentencing

John MonahanAnne Metz and Brandon L. Garrett (University of Virginia School of Law, University of Virginia and University of Virginia - School of Law) have posted Judicial Appraisals of Risk Assessment in Sentencing on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The assessment of an offender’s risk of recidivism is emerging as a key consideration in sentencing policy in many American jurisdictions. However, little information is available on how actual sentencing judges view this development. This study surveys the views of a population sample of judges in Virginia, the state that has gone farther than any other in legislatively mandating risk assessment for certain drug and property offenders. Results indicate that a strong majority of judges endorse the principle that sentencing eligible offenders should include a consideration of recidivism risk. However, a strong majority also report the availability of alternatives to imprisonment in their jurisdictions to be inadequate at best. Finally, most judges oppose the adoption of a policy requiring them to provide a written reason for declining to impose alternative interventions on “low risk” offenders.

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