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Publication Prison Sentences and Time Served for Violence

Lawrence A. Greenfeld

April 1, 1995    NCJ 153858

Violent offenders released from State prisons in 1992 served 48% of the sentence they had received--an average of 43 months in confinement, both jail and prison, on an average sentence of 89 months. The finding that just under half the sentence will be served in confinement was confirmed through analysis of self-reports of expected discharge dates from the 1991 BJS National Survey of State Prison Inmates. Prison release practices for violent offenders in 31 States reveal wide disparity across the States in sentence length but substantially less disparity and greater consensus on the duration of time spent in confinement. The findings are from BJS data collection programs, including the annual National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) and the 1991 sample survey of State prisoners. The report also estimates the hypothetical impact on time served of changing the percentage of sentence served and discusses how the States differ in percentage of sentence served.

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