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Photo by Hansjörg Keller on Unsplash

The Effects of Truth-In-Sentencing Legislation

How Truth in Sentencing legislation effects varied outcomes

Project Lead:

Suzanne Sokolowski & Jesenia Parthasarathy


Pascal Descollonges, Yeap Qian Fang, Samuel Espinal Jr., Taryn Kim, Margaux Reyl, and Marian Meneses


“Truth-In-Sentencing” (TIS) refers to a broad set of laws first enacted in the United States in 1984 in the state of Washington.1 Subsequently in 1998, truth-in-sentencing laws were adopted in Illinois. These laws increased the minimum amount of time that incarcerated people must serve before they can be considered for release. Initially, the goal of these laws was to create greater transparency in sentencing as people would be required to serve the exact amount or close to the number of years they received on paper. It was also believed that judges would proportionately balance out the longer prison stay mandated by TIS by giving out shorter sentences in the first place. This did not turn out to be true, as the decrease in sentence length was insignificant so that prisoners stayed in prison longer for the same crimes

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