Do the Drugs, Do the Time? The Effect of Drug Abuse on Sentences Imposed on Drug Offenders in Three U.S. District Courts

Cassia Spohn, Steven Belenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to determine whether offenders' history of hard drug use and hard drug use at the time of the crime affect case outcomes for offenders in three federal district courts. We focus on three outcomes-whether the offender was in pretrial detention prior to adjudication, whether the offender received a downward departure for providing substantial assistance, and the length of the sentence imposed on offenders who were sentenced to prison-and we hypothesize that the offender's history of drug use and drug use at the time of the crime will have varying effects on the three outcomes. Our results reveal that use of illegal drugs had multifaceted, but not illogical, effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-670
Number of pages25
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Volume40
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • drug abuse
  • federal sentencing guidelines
  • pretrial release
  • sentencing
  • substantial assistance departures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law

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