Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws Affect on Recidivism

Class

Article

Department

Economics and Finance

Faculty Mentor

Randy Simmons

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Our project centers on the nearly 1% of all adults in the United States who are currently serving time in correctional facilities. Prisons with high and overcrowded prison populations have proved ineffective, resulting in a national recidivism rate of 65% within just five years of release. In the following study, we investigated whether the strong network of mandatory minimum sentencing (MMS) laws in the United States has a direct effect on its high recidivism rate. Because MMS laws have dramatically increased the US prison population since the passing of the Sentencing Reform Act in 1984, we believed that they helped foster a criminogenic effect within the prisons, educating and refining criminal behavior instead of correcting it. For our research, we examined global recidivism trends by performing case studies of the prison systems in Norway, Ireland, Australia, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Upon identifying these trends, we narrowed our study to exploring specific corrective systems within the United States, especially examining the effect that mandatory minimum sentences had on their rates of recidivism. Our case study analysis then allowed us to compare and contrast a variety of policies creating a line of logic tying mandatory minimum sentencing with high recidivism rates.

Start Date

4-9-2015 9:00 AM

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Apr 9th, 9:00 AM

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws Affect on Recidivism

Our project centers on the nearly 1% of all adults in the United States who are currently serving time in correctional facilities. Prisons with high and overcrowded prison populations have proved ineffective, resulting in a national recidivism rate of 65% within just five years of release. In the following study, we investigated whether the strong network of mandatory minimum sentencing (MMS) laws in the United States has a direct effect on its high recidivism rate. Because MMS laws have dramatically increased the US prison population since the passing of the Sentencing Reform Act in 1984, we believed that they helped foster a criminogenic effect within the prisons, educating and refining criminal behavior instead of correcting it. For our research, we examined global recidivism trends by performing case studies of the prison systems in Norway, Ireland, Australia, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Upon identifying these trends, we narrowed our study to exploring specific corrective systems within the United States, especially examining the effect that mandatory minimum sentences had on their rates of recidivism. Our case study analysis then allowed us to compare and contrast a variety of policies creating a line of logic tying mandatory minimum sentencing with high recidivism rates.