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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97786 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing Reform - Policy Considerations
Author(s): S Cavanagh
Corporate Author: Library of Congress
Federal Research Division
United States of America
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 33
Sponsoring Agency: Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report assesses the success of determinate sentencing statutes in Minnesota, California, and Indiana in reducing disparities in sentencing and of mandatory sentencing laws in Florida, Massachusetts, and New York in reducing the rates at which certain crimes are committed.
Abstract: An evaluation of the first 5,500 cases sentenced under Minnesota's sentencing guidelines in 1980 and 1981, and on baseline data of 4,369 cases disposed of in 1979, reveals that sentencing disparities were reduced and criminals were punished on the basis of the severity of their crimes. Evaluation of the California Uniform Determinate Sentencing Act after 1 year reveals that the law has had some success in reducing disparity and in promoting uniform sentencing. Analysis indicates that Indiana's adoption of a determinate sentencing scheme has not eliminated sentencing discretion. Information also suggests that disparity in sentencing will not be reduced. Florida's mandatory minimum firearms statute has also had very little deterrent effect. However, in Massachusetts, a decline in gun assaults has been attributed to the publicity given the State's mandatory minimum firearms statute. Finally, New York's experience with a mandatory minimum sentencing law restricting prosecutorial discretion has resulted in massive backlogs in the court system. Thus, analysis suggests that lengthier prison sentences, whether compelled by determinate sentencing or mandatory minimum sentences, have not been successful in deterring crime. Included are 60 footnotes and 25 references.
Index Term(s): California; Determinate Sentencing; Florida; Indiana; Mandatory Sentencing; Massachusetts; Minnesota; New York; Sentencing disparity; Sentencing reform; Sentencing/Sanctions
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