Previous Chapter Chapter 7: The Impact of Sentencing Reforms

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The Impact of Sentencing Reforms
The impact of sentencing reforms

In a political context in which we often speak rather casually of doubling sentences that are already quite brutal… who cares about a “mere” excess of a few years’ punishment?

—Gerald Lynch, “Sentencing Eddie” (2001:564)

The sentencing reforms enacted in the past 30 years reflect diverse views of the purposes of punishment, the degree of discretion that should be accorded to judges and other criminal justice officials, and the extent to which crime and criminals can be controlled by sentencing policies. Those who proposed the reforms and lobbied for their enactment believed that they would result in more punitive, more effective, and fairer sentence outcomes. But have the changes in sentencing policy produced these results? Are sentences today ...

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