PhD student’s research study published in top criminological journal 社會學系博士生研究於頂級犯罪學期刊發表

A paper co-written by Xin Yanyu, a PhD student in the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Macau (UM), and her supervisor, Assistant Professor Cai Tianji, has been published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, one of the top journals in criminology and penology. Titled ‘Paying Money for Freedom: Effects of Monetary Compensation on Sentencing for Criminal Traffic Offenses’, the paper explores new possibilities and directions for sentencing studies.

Using data mining technology, the study obtained over 140,000 valid sentencing documents for criminal traffic offences that occurred in China between 2014 and 2016. With a joint model approach using both sentence length and probation as outcomes, the paper adopts a Zero-Truncated-Generalized-Inflated-Poisson model to address the distributional characteristics of sentence length, such as non-zero values and the concentration of data on certain points. The study has found that the effect of compensation on sentencing is twofold. First, the likelihood of being granted a probation increases when monetary compensation is provided, but the compensation does not make a significant difference on the sentence length for defendants receiving less than three years of imprisonment. Second, compensation can make a potentially ineligible case, which would have resulted in more than 36 months of imprisonment, become eligible for probation by compressing the length to exactly 36 months. This study not only benefits Chinese sentencing research in terms of data, methodology, and empirical findings, but also provides new possibilities and directions for sentencing studies.

The paper is one of the studies of Chinese criminal sentencing documents led by Dr. Cai. The project aims to explore the characteristics and patterns of criminal sentencing in China by analysing online judicial documents, in order to enhance the current research methods for sentencing studies.

Founded in 1985, Journal of Quantitative Criminology publishes papers that apply quantitative techniques to substantive, methodological, or evaluative concerns relevant to the criminological community. This journal is well-known for papers that explore new directions for studying a broad range of criminological topics. In terms of impact factor, the journal was ranked No 2 in 2017 and No 3 in 2018 out of all peer-reviewed journals in the category of criminology and penology.

澳門大學社會科學學院社會學系博士生辛晏毓與其導師兼助理教授蔡天驥合著之論文“以錢買刑:中國交通肇事罪中賠償對量刑之影響”,為審判研究提出了新的可能性和方向,見載於犯罪學頂級期刊《定量犯罪學雜誌》。

論文運用數據挖掘技術,抓取了2014至2016年中國裁判文書網中交通肇事罪的判決書,最終獲得了十四萬餘份有效審判書。該研究應用了新研發的零截斷廣義膨脹模型來處理量刑結果特有的非零正整數以及多點集中等分佈特徵。研究發現,在交通肇事罪中判決有期徒刑具體量刑中,賠償對於量刑可能存在兩個層面的影響。一方面,賠償本身增加了本應判三年以下有期徒刑被告人獲得緩刑的概率,而其對刑期影響卻微乎其微;另一方面,賠償將原本可能不適用緩刑的被告人的刑期壓至三年整,從而增加此類被告人判處緩刑的概率。論文從數據、方法和實證發現上拓寬了中國審判研究的邊界,為審判研究提出了新的可能性與方向。該論文是蔡天驥主導的中國刑事判決書系列研究計劃成果之一。此系列項目旨在通過挖掘刑事審判文書來探究中國刑事審判的規律與特徵,目前已完成多個包括新模型應用、量刑影響因素、與犯罪模式等內容的子課題,並發表了多篇優質論文,對刑事司法研究領域作出了重大貢獻。

《定量犯罪學雜誌》創刊於1985年,主要發表犯罪學及刑事司法方面的定量方法與應用類文章,且涉及多個領域,包括統計學、社會學、地理學、政治學、經濟學和工程學。《定量犯罪學雜誌》素以先進的定量研究方法聞名,其影響因子在SSCI之犯罪學與刑罰學類別中位列第二(2017),和第三(2018),是犯罪學領域極具影響力的期刊。