U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Sentencing Guidelines in Minnesota and Other American States: A Progress Report (From Politics of Sentencing Reform, P 169-198, 1995, Chris Clarkson and Rod Morgan, eds. -- See NCJ- 166953)

NCJ Number
R S Frase
Date Published
30 pages
This essay concludes that Minnesota and other States have generally succeeded in achieving their goals in the areas of sentencing guidelines and sentencing reform but that results vary widely.
Minnesota adopted presumptive sentencing guidelines implemented by an independent sentencing commission in 1978. By 1993, commission-based sentencing guidelines were in force or in the process of development in at least 15 other States. Although all States were concerned with increasing sentence uniformity and reducing unwarranted sentencing disparities, the most common driving force behind sentencing guideline implementation in the 1980's was prison overcrowding. In general, sentencing guidelines make sentences more predictable. Specifically in Minnesota, the Sentencing Guideline Commission is a permanent body composed of judges, prosecution and defense attorneys, law enforcement and correctional officials, and members of the public. Minnesota's sentencing guidelines are centered around a sentencing grid. The two major determinants of the presumptive sentence are severity of the most serious conviction offense and defendant's criminal history score. The most important changes in Minnesota's sentencing guidelines since 1980 concern presumptive durations of stayed and executed prison terms. Effects of sentencing guidelines on sentence uniformity and neutrality are discussed, as well as race and gender disparities, socioeconomic disparities, and the effect of plea bargaining on sentencing. 71 footnotes, 2 tables, and 7 figures


No download available