Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 217–232 | Cite as

A model for ranking the punitiveness of the states

  • William L. Selke
  • Steen A. Andersson


There has recently been much interest in the measurement of imprisonment rates. Since this variable has such widespread importance in criminological research and policy, new methods are called for in expanding the procedures for evaluating levels of punitiveness as indicated by imprisonment rates. This paper presents a new model using logarithmic transformations to develop a system for ranking the punitiveness of the states. Comparisons are made between different approaches to specifying imprisonment rates including controls for crime rates and arrest rates. Results of the analyses indicate that the use of this model generates somewhat different rankings of punitiveness compared with those based on sample imprisonment rates or prisoner/arrest ratios.

Key words

punitiveness imprisonment rates logarithmic transformation state rankings 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • William L. Selke
    • 1
  • Steen A. Andersson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeIndiana UniversityBloomington
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsIndiana UniversityBloomington

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