This study uses hierarchical logistic modeling to examine the impact of legal, extralegal and contextual variables on the decision to sentence felons to prison in a sample of large urban counties in 1996. None of the four contextual (county-level) variables -- level of crime, unemployment rate, racial composition, and region -- increased the likelihood of a prison sentence, but ten case-level factors, both legal and extralegal, and several macro-micro interaction terms were influential. These results demonstrate the importance of considering smaller geographic units (i.e., counties instead of states) and controlling for case-level factors in research on inter-jurisdictional differences in prison use.
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Last updated: June 28, 2002
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© 2002, Iain Pardoe, Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon