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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136364 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing Guidelines System? No. Sentencing Guidelines? Yes.
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:55  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1991)  Pages:16,20-25
Author(s): G T Eisele
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
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United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The fairness of Federal sentencing guidelines is questioned, and sentencing reform recommendations are offered.
Abstract: The author believes that the guidelines have created more sentencing disparity than ever; this disparity is concealed because decisions that truly affect sentences are not being made in the open courtroom, but rather in the offices of the Sentencing Commission, prosecutors, probation officers, and police departments. Judges have their own reasons for disliking the guidelines. Some see them as constituting a time-consuming, inefficient system that is adversely affecting the dockets of Federal trial and appellate courts. Others view them as causing a stressful contest in which conscientious judges spend hours of thought and research in attempts to find lawful ways around unfairness and irrationality issues. In addition, the guidelines give Federal prosecutors significant power to control sentences. Several sentencing reform recommendations are offered: reaffirm the principle that the exercise of legislatively established sentencing discretion is a judicial power and responsibility; establish an offense-of-conviction model; establish a range of permissible sentences for each crime within which range the judge can fix the penalty; require sentencing judges to document the rationale for their sentences; make available to sentencing judges data showing the average sentence imposed in similar cases; recognize the right of appeal; and continue a policy of determinate sentences while providing a larger range of parole options. 4 footnotes
Main Term(s): Sentencing guidelines; Sentencing reform
Index Term(s): Determinate Sentencing; Sentencing disparity
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