Title

On the Use of the Total Incarceration Variable in Sentencing Research

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2004

Description

This study calls into question the use of the total incarceration response variable incorporated into sentencing studies over the past 30 years. Specifically, using data from the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing (PCS), it argues - and reveals - that prison and jail represent two distinct institutions, and that the judge's decision on disposition should take that factor into account. It recommends that researchers should therefore reconsider use of the total incarceration variable, which combines prison and jail into a single response category.

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