Saturday, November 10, 2007

Just What ARE the Goals of Sentencing Commissions?

A large coincidence this week. Had a conversation with some colleagues about whether disparity in sentencing is really a major issue for sentencing commissions anymore (and what other goals they seem to be pursuing now) and then I ran across an internal survey I had done while at the WI Sentencing Commission of the stated goals of state sentencing commissions in their enabling legislation and/or annual reports as posted on their websites. Since it definitely is a topic we should still be concerned with, thought I'd share the findings I had as of, oh, 2005 or so. The goals are listed in order of their overt statement by their commissions and the percentage of the 19 I could find statements for is in parentheses on the right. You might quibble with my categories, but I think overall these state pretty well where we are in goals as sentencing commissions right now. Enjoy and don't bother to thank me for the goosebumps.

Public Safety/Emphasis on Violent or Career Offenders (84%)
Disparity/Equity (74%)
Alternative Sentences (58%)
Resource Availability (53%)
Proportionality (37%)
Truth in Sentencing (37%)
Judicial Discretion (32%)
Rehabilitation (26%)
Victim Impact (21%)
Statement of Public Values (16%)
Public Accountability (11%)
Prison Overcrowding (11%)
Crime Reduction (11%)

No comments: