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Texas’ Mandatory Sentencing Enhancements

| June 14, 2016

A policy product of the general “get tough on crime” era, sentencing enhancements enjoyed a great deal of bipartisan political support during the early 1980s through the late 1990s. Sentencing enhancements are statutory provisions that raise the minimum threshold of criminal sentence based on a certain characteristic of the offense or offender.

This report analyzes the extent to which sentencing enhancements create a deterrent effect that can enhance public safety.

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DEREK M. COHEN is Deputy Director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Right on Crime campaign. Cohen graduated with a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati, where he is currently completing his Ph.D. dissertation on the long-term costs and outcomes associated with correctional programming.  His academic work can be found in Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management and the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Theoretical Criminology and The Oxford Handbook on Police and Policing, and has scholarly articles currently under review.  He has presented several papers to the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the American Evaluation Association on the implementation and outcomes of various criminal justice policy issues. Prior to joining the Foundation, Cohen was a research associate with University of Cincinnati’s Institute of Crime Science.  He also taught classes in statistics, research methods, criminal procedure, and corrections.

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