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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 90381 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Justice Decisionmaking - Discretion vs Equity
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:46  Issue:2  Dated:(June 1983)  Pages:36-41
Author(s): J D Stanfiel
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
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United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A rational and coherent sentencing policy should involve judicial guidelines that provide a definite target sentence based upon the just deserts philosophy and derived specifically from objective determinations of current offense severity and cumulative criminal history.
Abstract: The judge should be allowed some discretion in departing from the target sentence, but only with cogent written justification and only according to established criteria for such departures. The statutory minimum would be the base penalty for all offenders convicted of a given offense with the possibility of enhancements (a higher penalty level). This approach may well increase penalties for repeat offenders who have posed the greatest or most persistent dangers to society. It might also reduce penalties for first offenders and others whose criminal histories are not extensive. The system will only be effective if it works in a very selective way to identify offenders for more severe sanctions according to their history of harm to the community. This prescriptive sentencing model will remove inequities in sentencing that cannot be justified by severity of the crime, defendant's prior criminal history, or character considerations. References within the text and three footnotes are supplied.
Index Term(s): Determinate Sentencing; Judicial discretion; Sentencing disparity; Sentencing guidelines; Sentencing reform
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