Sentencing Posts

Federal Criminal Risk Assessment

Risk assessments are a common feature of federal decisionmaking across a wide variety of areas of regulation. Perhaps the most widely used definition describes risk assessment as “the process of using risk factors to estimate the likelihood (i.e., probability) of an outcome occurring in a population.”

Making Drunk Sex a Crime: Why a New Push to ‘Close a Loophole’ Would Actually Establish a Troubling New Legal Regime

As part of this year’s state of the state agenda, Gov. Cuomo announced sweeping changes to the criminal laws governing intoxicated sex. He has not characterized these reforms as radical but as merely “closing a loophole” in the rape laws, to make it so that not only involuntarily but voluntarily intoxicated people are unable to consent to sexual activity.

Risk and Resources: A Qualitative Perspective on Low-Level Sentencing in Virginia

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Virginia’s sentencing guidelines include alternative sanctions based on the use of a quantitative instrument called the Nonviolent Risk Assessment (NVRA) that identifies individuals convicted of drug and property crimes that are considered to be at lower risk of recidivism. In this study, the authors explore how judges make use of the NVRA instrument when sentencing individuals convicted of low‐level drug and property crimes.

Law360 Article Argues In Favor of Risk Assessment Tools

An article for Law360 entitled “Risk Assessment Tools Are Not A Failed ‘Minority Report’” discusses the use of risk assessment tools used by judges in criminal cases. The article comes in response to a New York Times op-ed which implied that risk assessment tools make future violence seem more predictable than it actually is.

Criminal Justice Reform: A Survey of 2018 State Laws

State legislatures across the country made significant strides in reforming their criminal justice regimes throughout 2018. States revised their existing criminal codes, passed new legislation, and amended their constitutions in order to address a range of criminal justice concerns.