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NCJ Number: 78485 Find in a Library
Title: Justice in Sentencing (From Prisoners' Rights Sourcebook, P 31-38, 1980, Ira P Robbins, ed. - See NCJ-78483)
Author(s): I P Robbins
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Clark Boardman Company, Ltd
New York, NY 10014
Sale Source: Clark Boardman Company, Ltd
435 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter from a sourcebook on prisoners' rights focuses on the recommendations of the Committee for the Study of Incarceration regarding sentencing reform.
Abstract: The committee was formed in the aftermath of the Attica (New York) prison riots of 1971. The committee recommended that sentence severity should depend on the seriousness of the crime, rather than upon the defendant as an individual. The committee recommended stringent limitations on incarceration as a punishment, with terms of incarceration rarely to exceed 3 years, and to be imposed only for serious offenses; sharply scaled down penalties for first offenders; alternatives to incarceration for nonserious offenses; reduction in sentencing disparity; narrowing in sentencing disposition; and elimination of the indeterminate sentence. The theory of commensurate deserts was selected as the guiding principle of the committee. The paper suggests that the committee's work includes several ambiguities and inconsistencies. For example, in order for the just deserts principle to function properly, society must be structured in an equitable manner. Clearly, the criminal justice system does not function in an entirely fair manner for all defendants; discretion and discrimination are often employed, particularly prior to conviction. However, the proposed theory presents a workable starting point for reform, one worthy of serious consideration. The chapter includes 47 reference notes.
Index Term(s): Just deserts theory; Law reform; Prisoner's rights; Sentencing disparity; Sentencing reform; Sentencing/Sanctions
Note: Reprinted from Columbia Law Review, V 77, N 153 (1977).
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