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NCJ Number: 80656 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing Guidelines - Sentencing Decisions in the USA (From Pafoljdsval, strafmatning och straffvarde, P 203-218, 1980, M Nasberg, ed. - See NCJ-80645)
Author(s): D Victor
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Liber Distribution Foerlagsorder
S-162 89 Stockholm, Sweden
Sale Source: Liber Distribution Foerlagsorder
S-162 89 Stockholm,
Sweden
Language: Swedish
Country: Sweden
Annotation: The Federal and State governments in the United States have been experimenting with sentencing guidelines since the late 1970's. Most models are grid systems for calculating an ideal sentence or prison length after factoring in circumstances and severity of the crime. Some implications for Sweden's criminal justice system can be drawn.
Abstract: In 1976, the U.S. Board of Parole, under heavy criticism for lack of checks on discretion, looked for ways to systemize and justify parole decisions. The result was a mathematically plotted sentencing guideline model. The prototype and later guidelines models had two functions: to determine a fit punishment for a particular crime and to demonstrate commitment to a policy of structured, formalized equitable sentencing decisionmaking that could deter because of certainty of punishment. A sample guidelines model describes a coded set of all offenses along with 205 circumstances ranked according to degree they would affect a sentence (horizontal variables) and offense severity (vertical variables). The Demonstration Guideline Model from the Denver District Court is presented, showing its 8 sets of guidelines for both felonies and misdemeanors. One of the most comprehensive models is described in the Model Sentencing and Corrections Act developed by the Uniform Law Commission. This model also spells out circumstances for appeal. The ideology behind sentencing guidelines is similar to the Scandinavian neoclassicist criminal policy which asserts that a specific crime calls for a certain punishment. The technical aspects of the guidelines and consideration of aggravating and mitigating circumstances resemble traditional European criminal justice policy. On a general level, the U.S. experience with sentencing guidelines and sentencing commissions can have meaning for Swedish practitioners. However, there appear to be flaws in some basic tenets. For example, the Americans have apparently not tried to step back and take a nonsubjective view of each crime and its severity, but have used traditional concepts of crimes and their seriousness in rank-ordering. Thirteen references are provided.
Index Term(s): Sentencing guidelines; Sweden; United States of America
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