Dealing with criminals and preventing crime is a paramount public policy issue. Sentencing law and practice is the means through which we ultimately deal with criminal offenders. Despite its importance and wide-ranging reforms in recent decades, sentencing remains an intellectual and normative wasteland. This has resulted in serious human rights violations of both criminals and victims, incalculable public revenue wastage, and a failure to implement effective measures to reduce crime. This Article attempts to bridge the gulf that exists between knowledge and practice in sentencing and lays the groundwork for a fair and efficient sentencing system. The Article focuses on the sentencing systems in the United States and Australia. The suggested changes would result in a considerable reduction in incarceration numbers, lower crime, and a reduction in the expenditure on prisons. The key concrete recommendations of this Article are that the criminal justice system should move towards a bifurcated system of punishment, reserving imprisonment mainly for serious sexual and violent offenses and reducing the terms of imprisonment in general.
From Arbitrariness to Coherency in Sentencing: Reducing the Rate of Imprisonment and Crime While Saving Billions of Taxpayer Dollars,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol19/iss2/4