skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 119649 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Symbolic Policy and the Sentencing of Drug Offenders
Journal: Law & Society  Volume:23  Issue:2  Dated:(1989)  Pages:295-315
Author(s): M A Myers
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the sentencing behavior of judges in a context characterized by significant legislative and social change.
Abstract: Data from Georgia are used to explore the ways in which judges accommodated their sentencing practices to a general crusade against drug use and to specific legislation that identified trafficking as criminal, set harsh penalties, and limited judicial discretion. The results suggest that judges selectively mitigated the harshness embodied in legislative pronouncements. The extent of mitigation depended on when sentencing occurred, the offense under consideration, and the offender's race. The impact of legislative changes appeared to be short-lived for the initial incarceration decision and more sustained for outcomes involving imprisonment, but modest for both. The target of symbolic policies, the trafficker, bore the brunt of increased punitiveness, but some spillover severity affected less serious drug offenders. Finally, the effect of race on sentences was influenced by legislative changes. During the height of legislative activity, differential treatment by race increased, further disadvantaging blacks, particularly black traffickers. 45 references, 6 tables. (Author abstract)
Main Term(s): Drug offenders; Sentencing disparity
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Georgia (USA); Judicial discretion
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=119649

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.