Sleepy Punishers are Harsh Punishers is a study researching the correlation between sleep deprivation in judges and their sentencing length. The researchers’ hypothesis is that sleep deprivation increases the severity of the Judge’s sentencing. The participants of this study are the judges who gave sentences on during the week of Sleepy Monday and the week of Comparison Monday. Participants are also the people being doled out the sentences to. In order to conduct this experiment, the researchers are using a quasi-experiment. They measured using a hierarchical linear modeling framework.
In order to measure sleep deprivation (the independent variable) they created dichotomous variables for Sleepy Monday and Comparison Monday. Arizona, Hawaii, and Indiana don’t participate in daylight savings time so they coded it the same as comparison Monday. To measure punishment (the dependent variable) they used the length of the prison sentence.
They capped sentences longer than 470 months and just counted those as 470 months. They controlled yearly trend in sentencing, trial and offender characteristics. Using that to take into account federal guidelines for history and offense levels.The researchers found that their hypothesis is correct. Judges that were sleep deprived had sentences 5% longer than non-sleep deprived judges.
They found that sentence lengths given on a Sleepy Monday were much longer than those given on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the same week. Friday of the same week is an exception. They found that sentences given on a Friday were not very different than sleepy Monday of the same week. Even with small amounts of lack of sleep it can cause detrimental effects on judges’ decision making. They also found that sleep deprivation impairs cognitive functions but the amount that it effects depends on the task at hand. This research is important in real life because it can have a detrimental effect on someone’s life. A sentence difference of just a few months can be a lot to the person being sentenced. This research also helps with other research regarding what lack of sleep can cause.
Now that the outcome of what sleep deprivation can do especially when it comes to sentencing. Something can hopefully be done to fix this.