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No One Can Afford Complacency on Sentencing, Prisons: Expert

June 8, 2010 07:55:05 am

"State criminal justice systems have great opportunities to learn from the successes and failures of other states," University of Minnesota law Prof. Kevin Reitz argues in Justice Research and Policy, the journal of the Justice Research and Statistics Association. Reitz says no state or the federal government "can afford to be complacent about its approach to sentencing and corrections. Even the 'cutting-edge' systems, those that are admired and emulated in other places, have serious shortfalls."

The journal examines sentencing and corrections issues in several major states, including New York, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Reitz notes that authors of articles in the issue pay little attention to "front-end" sentencing authorities such as legislatures, commissions, and courts) and more to "back-end" sentencing decision points, including parole release, good-time allowances, and sentence revocations). "Such examination is badly needed," says Reitz. "We are sorely lacking in our understanding of how mechanisms of prison release and 'reincarceration' discretion actually operate from place to place."  Among other authors are James Austin, William Bales, Bert Useem, Robert Weisberg, Tony Fabelo, and Mark Bergstrom. The full journal is available only to subscribers but individual articles may be purchased via its Web site for $10 each.

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