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Society United States 2. March 2023

Redefining Criminal Justice Through “Second-Look” Sentencing

A new United States study found that there is public support for second-look sentencing – particularly for incarcerated individuals who committed a crime when young.

“Our findings suggest that many members of the public believe in a Shawshank Redemption effect – that individuals who committed serious crimes as teenagers or young adults can mature into different people and warrant a second look, with the possibility of early release if they have earned it,” says Amanda Graham, assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology at Georgia Southern University and co-author of the study.

The survey concluded that 75 percent of respondents favored a second-look sentencing policy. In Washington, D.C., two second-look laws have recently come into effect, allowing offenders who were convicted of a crime when young to petition for a judge to relook at their sentence, under the condition that they have already served a minimum of 15 years in prison. Having one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, this study, as well as new policies in the country’s capital, reveal that much of the population today actually holds a more progressive view of crime and punishment and ultimately might just lead to a reform of the nation’s justice system.

The Mirage

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