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Sentencing Reform in the United States - Histories, Content, and Effect

NCJ Number
S Shane-DuBow; A P Brown; E Olsen
Date Published
348 pages
This report reviews the major changes in State sentencing statutes that occurred in the period 1971-1982. The report will be of greatest interest to State legislators, State executives, and criminal justice researchers.
A summary of sentencing reform and its impact is provided for each State and the District of Columbia; each summary contains sections tracing the history of that State's current sentence structure or reform, a description of the content of the reform, and a discussion of the reform's impact. The States differed widely in the types of sentencing reforms adopted. Types of reforms undertaken include determinate sentencing, mandatory terms for specific offenses, increased penalties for serious and habitual offenders, presumptive sentences, and sentencing guidelines. The book also contains a brief history of sentencing, punishment, and imprisonment in Europe and the United States since the 18th century; its concluding section discusses common features of State sentencing reforms. A series of charts summarizing the data is included in the summary chapter. Footnotes, a bibliography, an appendix, and tables are supplied.