Democracy and the Governance of Criminal Punishment

E.Zimring Franklin, Gordon Hawkins and Sam Kamin

in Punishment and Democracy

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780195171174
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199849765 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Crime and Public Policy

Democracy and the Governance of Criminal Punishment

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This chapter addresses the question of what should be the appropriate means for setting penalties in a political democracy. It first defines terms and describes the allocation of power in the punishment-setting process according to the proximity or distance of each element in the decision from democratic oversight. It then addresses three questions about nonpolitical definitions of excessive punishment. The third section of the chapter looks at the range of possible objections to the method of setting penalties in the Three Strikes initiative, and the different remedies that might be used to address each one. Finally, it considers some proposed methods for insulating punishment decisions from any problems of process and substantive bias.

Keywords: political democracy; criminal punishment; substantive bias; Three Strikes; excessive punishment

Chapter.  13441 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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