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Prison vs. probation May 23, 2007

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Different things work on different offenders. Programs work best for some, prison for others. Some offenders commit more crime because we put them in prison; some do so because we do not.

Sentencing choices based on ideology or philosophy rather than data result in cruelty to victims and to offenders.
Sentencing guidelines were not designed for public safety. By one measure, they over-predict risk about one-third of the time and under-predict risk about one-third of the time. Getting sentencing right one time out of three is irresponsible and undermines programs that do work, both in and out of prison.

Senate Bill 276 would require judges to consider a validated risk assessment when choosing between probation and prison in 11 of the guideline’s 99 grid blocks. In three years’ study, we’d learn the results in terms of crime reduction.

SB276 is a crucial first step toward more effective sentencing.

MICHAEL MARCUS Circuit judge, Multnomah County Southwest Portland



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