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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136368 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing Guidelines: What a Mess
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:55  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1991)  Pages:45-48
Author(s): J Clarke
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 4
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
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
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United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The congressional intent with the Federal sentencing guidelines to implement a rational sentencing system based on uniform and proportional sentences has not been realized.
Abstract: Congress directed consideration of the nature and circumstances of the offense and the four basic purposes of sentencing (punish, deter, protect, and rehabilitate). The U.S. Sentencing Commission was specifically directed to consider typical offender characteristics such as age, education, vocational skills, employment, family ties, mental and emotional conditions, and alcohol and drug abuse, and to take these characteristics into account to the extent they are relevant to sentencing. The Commission imposed on Federal courts a detailed, technical system that seeks uniformity, but produces interpretive disparity and control by the executive instead of the judicial branch. The sentencing guidelines are also problematic in terms of the competence of counsel. In addition, with the advent of the guidelines and sentencing appeals, Federal defender offices are growing. Further, probation officers appear to be only guardians of the guidelines rather than being responsible for evaluating human beings. 3 footnotes
Main Term(s): Sentencing guidelines; Sentencing reform
Index Term(s): Probation effectiveness; Probation or parole officers; Sentencing factors; US Sentencing Commission
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