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NCJ Number: 222557 
Title: Exploring the Differences between Punitive and Moderate Penal Policies in the United States and Canada (From International Perspectives on Punitivity, Volume 4, P 55-78, 2008, Helmut Kury and Theodore N. Ferdinand, eds. -- See NCJ-222554)
Author(s): Julian V. Roberts; Jane B. Sprott
Date Published: 2008
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: Universitatsverlag Brockmeyer
44797 Bochum,
Sale Source: Universitatsverlag Brockmeyer
Im Haarmannsbusch 112
44797 Bochum,
Germany (Unified)
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: Germany (Unified)
Annotation: This essay describes recent punishment policies (custody as a sanction) in sentencing adults and juveniles in Canada, contrasts these policies with those of the United States, and explains why a more moderate punitive policy has been adopted in Canada compared with the United States.
Abstract: Over the past decade, the United States has developed punitive policies that emphasize the use of imprisonment for a significant proportion of crime types, both violent and nonviolent. Over the same period, Canada has been more moderate in its use of imprisonment. Canada's few punitive reforms affect relatively few offenders, notably offenders convicted of the most serious offenses; and there has been no change in policy for transferring juveniles to criminal court. Canada has maintained a strategy that moderates the punitiveness of the general sentencing framework that applies to the vast majority of adult and juvenile offenders. Consequently, unlike the United State, Canada's imprisonment rate has remained relatively stable since the 1960s. The following factors are apparently related to the less punitive direction taken in Canada compared to the United States: the absence of an explicit policy link between criminal justice reform and public confidence in the justice system; the tendency of Canada's policymakers to go beyond opinion polls when attempting to determine public attitudes toward sentencing; the existence of a majority government that has traditionally supported moderate penal policies; and fewer political power struggles over sentencing policies. The United States, on the other hand, is influenced by factors that make legislators and criminal justice personnel more susceptible to public pressure for more punitive sentencing; namely, judges being elected rather than appointed, prosecutorial control over charging and consequently sentencing options, and the existence of quasi-judicial bodies (sentencing commissions) that control sentencing policies. 66 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Canada; Comparative analysis; Incarceration; Punishment; Sentencing reform; Trend analysis; United States of America
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