Sentencing Decisions

The sentencing decision is typically the last court decision made in a case. This decision has attracted the most attention from researchers studying legal decision making. After being convicted of a crime, a defendant may be sentenced to, for example, imprisonment, a community penalty, fine, restitution or compensation, or probation. A sentence may have one or more goals, including to deter, rehabilitate, and incapacitate the offender. Crimes may have maximum and minimum penalties attached to them. However, in between these penalties, sentencers have discretion as to the sentence they pass. Efforts have been made to curb this discretion through the introduction of sentencing guidelines. Past research on sentencing has largely been conducted in the American and English criminal justice systems. Researchers have aimed to describe ...

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