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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 126898 Find in a Library
Title: Federal Sentencing Guidelines: Do They Provide Principled Guidance?
Journal: American Criminal Law Review  Volume:27  Issue:2  Dated:(1989)  Pages:367-390
Author(s): A von Hirsch
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 24
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of the work of the United States Sentencing Commission and the Canadian Sentencing Commission focuses on the penal rationales used, the impacts of the commissions' guidelines on correctional resources, the incentives for avoiding the guidelines, and the prospects for improving the guidelines over time.
Abstract: The United States guidelines took effect in 1987, whereas the Canadian Commission's work represents an earlier stage of the process of writing guidelines. The movement for sentencing guidelines is likely to continue, because guidelines offer the most promising method to avoid overloading correctional resources. Nevertheless, the United States guidelines could produce a large increase in the Federal prison population. Judges can use the many exceptions to avoid incarcerative sentences, but this approach would achieve little rationality. It is likely that some judges will rely more on the Commission's grid and that others will rely more on the escape clauses, resulting in large disparities. The most urgent task is to scale down the penalties and provide noncustodial penalties such as fines and community services for the lower and intermediate-level offenses that now draw custodial sentences. 103 footnotes
Main Term(s): Sentencing guidelines
Index Term(s): Canada; US Sentencing Commission; US/foreign comparisons
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