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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 93554 Find in a Library
Title: Choice of Sanction - A Scandinavian Perspective (From Reform and Punishment, P 3-20, 1984, Michael Tonry and Franklin E Zimring, eds. - See NCJ-93553)
Author(s): J Andenaes
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: University of Chicago Press
Chicago, IL 60637
Sale Source: University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After focusing on Scandinavian approaches to sentencing determinacy and disparity, this essay outlines the systems of sentencing and explains why disparity is not often regarded as a serious problem.
Abstract: Determinate sentences, meted out by the court in proportion to the gravity of the crime and the blameworthiness of the offenders, have long been standard for the great majority of incarcerated offenders. There has been a trend in Scandinavian countries away from a treatment-oriented ideology toward a form of neoclassicism, where punishment is meted out in proportion to the gravity of the act and the culpability of the offender. No system exists of mandatory sentences fixed by statute for each type of subtype of offense. Normally, Scandinavian judges have discretion to fix penalties with fairly wide limits. Sentencing disparity is not a problem in the Scandinavian countries due largely to reasoned sentences, appellate review, and the reporting of appellate court decisions. The trial court gives reasons for its sentences and the appellate court opinions and sentence revisions are published, which allows them to be guidelines for all lower courts. The prosecutor decides what charges are to be brought, although plea bargaining is not permitted and offers sentencing recommendations. Differences in the sizes of the countries, in the volume of crime, in public attitudes, and in legal tradition preclude any simple transfer of the Scandinavian sentencing systems to the United States; however, a system of appellate review of sentencing combined with reasoned judgments and reporting of sentences is worthy of consideration in the United States. Case histories illustrate how appellate sentencing review works. Five references are listed.
Index Term(s): Determinate Sentencing; Prosecutorial discretion; Scandinavia; Sentence review; Sentencing disparity
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