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The recidivism of offenders given suspended sentences in New South Wales, Australia
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-17, 03:16 authored by Weatherburn, D, Lorana BartelsLorana Bartels
The suspended sentence has been described as the 'Sword of Damocles' and praised as a means of exploiting the deterrent effects of prison while avoiding some of its human and financial costs. The deterrent value of suspended sentences is said to derive from the fact that the consequences of reoffending during the period of a suspended sentence are 'known and certain', whereas those attending a breach of probation are not. Past research, however, has shown that suspended sentences do little to reduce the use of imprisonment and, in some cases, actually increase it. Studies purporting to show the deterrent effectiveness of suspended sentences, on the other hand, have been few in number and methodologically weak. In this article, we use propensity matching to compare the effect of suspended sentences on recidivism to that of supervised bonds. We find no difference in rates of reconviction following the imposition of these sanctions. The implications of this finding for the UK system of suspended sentences are discussed.
Publication titleThe British Journal of Criminology
Department/SchoolFaculty of Law
PublisherOxford Univ Press
Place of publicationGreat Clarendon St, Oxford, England, OX2 6DP
Rights statementThe definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at: http://www.oxfordjournals.org/ Copyright 2008 The author.