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NCJ Number: 163805 Find in a Library
Title: Purposes of Punishment Under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines
Journal: Criminal Justice Ethics  Volume:13  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter/Spring 1994)  Pages:11-20
Author(s): R S Frase
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 10
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission adopted just deserts as its primary punishment theory in sentencing guidelines that became effective in 1980.
Abstract: The original version of Minnesota's sentencing guidelines emphasized just deserts but also incorporated nonretributive goals. The sentencing commission retained a substantial role for nondesert goals, especially in such areas as scoring and assessing the impact of criminal history, determining nonprison sentences, and recognizing the general goal of parsimony in sentencing. The Minnesota legislature is still very attached to utilitarian sentencing goals, and the overall intent is to reduce sentencing discretion. In addition, appellate case law has formalized the role of rehabilitative purposes in dispositional departure decisions. An analysis of actual charging and sentencing practices under Minnesota's sentencing guidelines shows that system actors (prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, and probation officers) remain strongly committed to nondesert purposes, especially rehabilitation and incapacitation. Even so, modified just deserts continues to play an important role in sentencing, although the "hybrid" sentencing system gives appropriate weight to all major purposes of punishment. Uniformity and retributive proportionality have increased, but sentencing also reflects strong utilitarian traditions and the need to make efficient use of limited correctional resources. The challenge for the future will be to ensure a balance between just deserts and other sentencing goals. The evolution of sentencing theory in Minnesota since 1980 is described in terms of case law, legislative developments, and sentencing theories implicit in actual sentencing practices. 49 notes
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Deterrence; Just deserts theory; Minnesota; Punishment; Rehabilitation; Sentence effectiveness; Sentencing disparity; Sentencing guidelines
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