Sentencing Guidelines

THROUGHOUT THE 1970s, a great deal of attention was focused on disparities in sentencing—people who committed the same crime rarely received the same sentence. This disparity also produced many cases in which persons received very little punishment for serious crimes. The response to federal sentencing disparity was the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (Title II of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984), which established the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Congress's objective was to enhance the ability of the federal criminal justice system to combat crime through an effective and fair sentencing system. Congress wanted honesty in sentencing so that potential offenders know the punishments that they were likely to receive. Congress also wanted uniformity in sentencing to promote fairness. The U.S. Sentencing Commission was established ...

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