Brief Description Of Virginia 's Program Essay

787 Words Jun 23rd, 2016 4 Pages
Brief Description of Virginia’s Program In 1994, due to the limited budgets and overcrowded prisons of the state, Virginia’s Legislature required the state sentencing commission to construct a new method to keep nonviolent criminals out of prison without the risk of endangering the society. By analyzing a large volume of historical data about crime and recidivism, Richard Kern, the commission’s director and his team concluded that people with certain features or preferences could possibly commit new offenses after being released from a prison. For example, a single, unemployed, young man is more likely to be arrested again than a married, employed, woman. Based on this new finding, Kern constructed a 71-point scale of risk assessment for evaluating offenders. Those offenders who scores 35 points or less are recommended for a probation or house arrest outside prisons. However, scoring more than 35 indicates a hint of recommendation of jail time. After applying this method on the criminals released five years ago, Kern verified the correctness of his model. Of the offenders who scored higher than 35 points, more than 38 percent committed new crimes, however, only 12 percent of those who scored lower than 35 points were re-arrested and reconvicted. This experiment illustrates that to some extent, Kern’s theory is effective in predicting recidivism risk. Therefore, this method was considered as an aid for judges in Virginia. In 2004, the state raised cutoff point from 35 points…

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