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The Process of Sentencing Adult Felons

A Causal Analysis of Judicial Decisions
  • Ebbe B. Ebbesen
  • Vladimir J. Konečni
Part of the Perspectives in Law & Psychology book series (PILP, volume 2)

Abstract

If there is one conclusion about the United States criminal justice system with which most knowledgeable observers of the system would agree, it is that the sentencing of convicted felons is blatantly unfair. Not only does the average length of prison sentences given to offenders convicted of virtually identical crimes vary from one locale to another (see, e.g., Bottomley, 1973; Green, 1961; Hogarth, 1971; O’Donnell, Churgin, & Curtis, 1977), but different judges seem to give completely different sentences to the same offender. For example, in one instance (reported in O’Donnell et al., 1977), after reading the same file describing characteristics of an offender and the nature of his criminal activity (transporting stolen securities across state lines), one federal judge imposed a three-year prison term while another released the offender with only one year of probation.

Keywords

Criminal Justice System Prison Sentence Probation Officer Judicial Decision Defense Attorney 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ebbe B. Ebbesen
    • 1
  • Vladimir J. Konečni
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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