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Use of Jail Confinement in the Disposition of Felony Arrests

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 17 Issue: 4 Dated: (1989) Pages: 241-251
B R McCarthy
Date Published
11 pages
Although jail confinement is the disposition most frequently employed to incarcerate convicted offenders, research on the use of punishment in the United States consistently has focused on rates of imprisonment in State correctional facilities and ignored the use of jails.
The purpose of this study was to examine the use of jails in the sentencing process, the factors that influence their use, and the relationship between jail and prison utilization. Offender Based Tracking System data and census data were employed in this intrastate study of all counties of California and Minnesota. Findings indicated that the average county in the jurisdictions examined used jails at least five times as frequently as prisons to dispose of felony arrests. The use of jails was a function not only of the volume of crime but the type of crime in the community. Rates of jail utilization and prison utilization were highly correlated; jurisdictional variation was more apparent in the use of jail confinement and probation. 4 tables, 37 references. (Author abstract)


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