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NCJ Number: 99403 Find in a Library
Title: Interests and Politics in Sentencing Reform - The Development of Sentencing Guidelines in Minnesota and Pennsylvania
Journal: Villanova Law Review  Volume:29  Issue:1  Dated:(February 1984)  Pages:22-113
Author(s): S E Martin
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 92
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores the social, organizational, and political factors that shaped the apparently similar sentencing reform laws of Pennsylvania and Minnesota, yet which contributed to divergent initial legislative reactions and unique final products in these two States.
Abstract: The article initially reviews the problems of sentencing reform, noting the importance of the political culture and traditions of a jurisdiction in shaping its policy options. The structure of the criminal court and corrections systems in Minnesota and Pennsylvania are then described. A detailed examination of the politics of sentencing reform in Minnesota includes a review of the legislative process that created the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission, the commission's mandate, key elements in formulating the guidelines, the content of the guidelines, the role of interest groups in shaping them, and the legislature's reaction to the guidelines. An analogous review is conducted of the politics of sentencing reform in Pennsylvania. The article concludes with an analysis of the factors that shaped the divergent processes by which sentencing guidelines were mandated in the two States. The structure and content of the guidelines are compared, and the likely impacts of the guidelines in each State are considered. The article reasons that changing a sentencing system is an inherently political process that requires reformers to address two types of issues: sanction goals and criminal justice system functional goals. Tabular data and 376 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Minnesota; Pennsylvania; Political influences; Sentencing guidelines; Sentencing reform
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