The authors report on the benefits and costs of California’s new mandatory-sentencing law, which provides for progressively longer sentences with an increasing number of prior convictions for serious felonies. The authors find that the new law, if fully implemented, will decrease serious crime committed by adults by about 28 percent at a cost of an extra $5.5 billion a year. Alternatives that narrow the law’s application result in a lower benefit but an even greater reduction in costs. The authors were also able to devise an alternative that resulted in the same crime-reduction benefit for lower cost. The authors conclude that the state budget cuts required to fund the new law will be so great that it is unlikely to be fully implemented.
Table of Contents
Sentencing Alternatives for Repeat Offenders
How the Analysis Was Done
Benefits and Costs of the Sentencing Alternatives
Footing the Bill
The Jones Three-Strikes Law
Classification of Crimes As Serious or Violent
Tabular Specification of Alternatives
This research in the public interest was supported by RAND, using discretionary funds made possible by the generosity of RAND's donors and the fees earned on client-funded research.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.