For the last twenty years, much of the discussion about the criminal justice system has focused on criminal sentencing. Prior to 1970, the states and the federal government used indeterminate sentencing, a method whereby judges and parole boards exercised a great deal of discretion over the length of criminal sentences. This Article discusses the reasons why sentencing guidelines are the best way to achieve proportionality and uniformity in the sentencing of criminal offenders. Sentencing guidelines have been implemented in a number of states and the federal system, and, thus, the successes and failures of those reforms offer lessons for future reforms of criminal justice sentencing systems. The Article examines presumptive sentencing and sentencing guidelines in detail and explains those factors that should be considered when establishing sentencing guidelines. The final section of the Article analyzes the experiences of states and the federal courts with sentencing guidelines in an effort to show how their experiences can be applied in other states.
Barbara S. Barrett,
Sentencing Guidelines: Recommendations for Sentencing Reform,
57 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol57/iss4/1