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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 92035 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing - A View From the Bench
Journal: New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:(Summer 1983)  Pages:323-330
Author(s): J L Tauro
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 8
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A sentence should be fair to the defendant while serving the public interest; in achieving these objectives, the information presented at the sentencing hearing is crucial.
Abstract: Sentencing that is fair and equitable while serving the public interest cannot be determined with mathematical precision or consistency; it inevitably involves judicial subjectivity, but it should be an informed subjectivity. Following a conviction, sufficient time should be provided for the probation department to conduct an indepth study that culminates in a comprehensive presentence report that discusses every phase of the defendant's life. The defendant and his/her attorney must have the presentence report at least 48 hours prior to the sentencing hearing so they may be alerted to information they might wish to challenge in the hearing. The following factors are particularly important in sentencing deliberations: age, type of crime, the defendant's degree of involvement, the presence or absence of violence in the crime, prior criminal record, work habits, how the defendant has used opportunities to improve his/her life, family background, and indications of contrition since the commission of the offense. A sentencing objective or objectives should be determined, whether punishment, deterrence, rehabilitation, or some combination of these objectives. In considering sentencing objectives, the judge is influenced by certain subjective impressions, notably whether incarceration is punitive, an effective deterrent, or rehabilitative. Given a belief that imprisonment is uncertain in its rehabilitative and deterrent effects, other sentencing options would be selected to achieve these ends, such as probation and community service.
Index Term(s): Hearings; Judicial discretion; Presentence studies; Sentencing factors; Sentencing/Sanctions
Note: Adapted from an address given on April 25, 1981 at the Joint Conference of the Smithsonian Institutions's Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Creative Alternatives to Prison, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Room, Washington, D.C.
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