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Selling of the Sentencing Guidelines: Some Correspondence With the U.S. Sentencing Commission (From U.S. Sentencing Guidelines: Implications for Criminal Justice, P 49-92, 1989, Dean J. Champion, ed. -- See NCJ-121135)

NCJ Number
A W Alschuler
Date Published
44 pages
In presenting correspondence between the author and members of the Federal Sentencing Commission regarding its proposed sentencing guidelines, this chapter suggests the absence of reliable scientific debate between the commission and the academic community regarding the impact of the guidelines.
The author, Albert Alschuler of the University of Chicago Law School, first presents his statement on the guidelines before the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. The statement discusses four deficiencies of the commission's guidelines: its overuse of imprisonment, its contribution to an increased Federal prison population, its effective transfer of sentencing discretion from judges and parole authorities to prosecutors, and the crudity of its sentencing standards. The latter, according to Alschuler, neglect offense and offender characteristics that virtually all sentencing judges have considered important. Alschuler's subsequent correspondence with commission members pertains to his efforts to obtain commission data upon which it based guidelines development. Commission responses involved the sending of erroneous data and failures to reply, thus undermining, at least in this case, constructive debate between the commission and academicians. 12 notes.


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