Sentencing in context: A multilevel analysis

Jeffery T. Ulmer, Brian Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

301 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Criminal sentencing is, along with arresting and prosecuting, among the most important of formal social control decisions. In this study we use hierarchical modeling to test hypotheses about contextual level influences and cross level interaction effects on local court decisions. Most of the explanatory "action," our analysis shows, is at the individual case level in criminal sentencing. We also find evidence that local contextual features - such as court organizational culture, court caseload pressure, and racial and ethnic composition - affect sentencing outcomes, either directly or in interaction with individual factors. We conclude by discussing theoretical implications of our findings, and how our study points out some dilemmas among civil rights, local autonomy and organizational realities of criminal courts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-177
Number of pages41
JournalCriminology
Volume42
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004

Fingerprint

Organizational Culture
Multilevel Analysis
Civil Rights
multi-level analysis
Jurisprudence
Pressure
local court
organizational culture
court decision
interaction
civil rights
social control
autonomy
evidence

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

Cite this

Ulmer, Jeffery T. ; Johnson, Brian. / Sentencing in context : A multilevel analysis. In: Criminology. 2004 ; Vol. 42, No. 1. pp. 137-177.
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Ulmer, JT & Johnson, B 2004, 'Sentencing in context: A multilevel analysis', Criminology, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 137-177.

Sentencing in context : A multilevel analysis. / Ulmer, Jeffery T.; Johnson, Brian.

In: Criminology, Vol. 42, No. 1, 01.02.2004, p. 137-177.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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AU - Johnson, Brian

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AB - Criminal sentencing is, along with arresting and prosecuting, among the most important of formal social control decisions. In this study we use hierarchical modeling to test hypotheses about contextual level influences and cross level interaction effects on local court decisions. Most of the explanatory "action," our analysis shows, is at the individual case level in criminal sentencing. We also find evidence that local contextual features - such as court organizational culture, court caseload pressure, and racial and ethnic composition - affect sentencing outcomes, either directly or in interaction with individual factors. We conclude by discussing theoretical implications of our findings, and how our study points out some dilemmas among civil rights, local autonomy and organizational realities of criminal courts.

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Ulmer JT, Johnson B. Sentencing in context: A multilevel analysis. Criminology. 2004 Feb 1;42(1):137-177.