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Structured Sentencing: Lessons From England and Wales for Common Law Jurisdictions

NCJ Number
Punishment & Society Volume: 3 Issue: 14 Dated: July 2012 Pages: 267-288
Julian V. Roberts
Date Published
July 2012
22 pages
This article discusses sentencing guidelines in England and Wales.
Sentencing guidelines have been slowly evolving in England and Wales since 1998. Definitive guidelines now exist for all common offences. This jurisdiction is the only one outside the United States to develop formal, numerical guidelines which are presumptively binding on courts. Despite their unique status - as the only alternative to the grid-based schemes found in many U.S. States - the English guidelines have attracted almost no attention from sentencing scholars. This article describes the latest developments in England and Wales. As a result of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 much has changed: a new departure test has been created, and the old statutory bodies have been replaced by a single new Council which has issued a new format of guideline which will become the model to replace the old format. These important changes are discussed and some lessons drawn for other jurisdictions seeking to structure sentencing without resort to the two dimensional sentencing grids found across the United States. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.