- Research demonstrates that the "general public tends to underestimate the severity of sanctions generally imposed" and are often unaware of any enhanced sentencing structure.
- Deterrance theory "assumes people are rational actors who consider the consequences of their behavior," however 1/2 of prisoners are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of their offense.
Nor do harsher sentences appear to reduce recidivsim. In one 1999 study involving over 300,000 offenders, longer sentences actually increased the liklihood of a return to prison. Those who remained in the community had the lowest liklihood of recidivism.
Click here to read the Sentencing Project's latest paper in full.