Christina Stewart, graduate student in the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice, won best paper in the Division of Corrections and Sentencing (DCS) from the American Society of Criminology. The title of Christina's research paper is Processing and Punishment: Examining the Relationship between Time to Disposition, Mode of Conviction, and Sentence Severity.
The literature on sentencing assumes a strong relationship between processing time and case outcomes, both directly and in connection with the mode of conviction. Yet, the role of time has largely been ignored in research on court actor decision making. The current study examines this important, though rarely empirically tested, dimension of the criminal justice process. By combining data from the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy with information from court records, this study explores the effect of time to disposition on sentence severity and assesses the impact that controlling for time has on mode of conviction effects. Findings support the importance of time to sentencing, demonstrating a significant, positive effect of time to disposition on sentence severity. Time to disposition, however, does not mediate the effects of mode of conviction, which raises important theoretical questions about the mechanisms driving trial penalties.
The American Society of Criminology DCS Student Paper Award is presented in recognition of the most outstanding student research paper. Eligibility is limited to papers that are authored by one or more undergraduate or graduate students and have not been previously published or submitted for publication. Submissions will be judged on five evaluative criteria, including: the overall significance of the work; its research contribution to the field; integration of prior literature in the area; appropriateness and sophistication of the research methodology (if applicable); and overall quality of writing and organization of the paper.