Towards more consistent and predictable sentencing in England and Wales

Jessica Jacobson, Julian Roberts and Mike Hough

in Tackling prison overcrowding

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9781847421104
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303657 | DOI:
Towards more consistent and predictable sentencing in England and Wales

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This chapter offers some commentary issues on sentencing guidelines in England and Wales. It also suggests some ways in which sentencing in this jurisdiction may be further enhanced. In the chapter, the focus is on a small number of questions: 1) what kinds of sentencing guidelines are appropriate for England and Wales? 2) is the current ‘departure’ test for sentences falling outside the guidelines adequate to ensure a sufficient level of compliance with the guidelines? 3) should sentencing guidelines be sensitive to prison capacity, and if so, how? and 4) should a guidelines authority such as the Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC) have a community engagement function? However, prior to the discussion of the answers to these critical questions, the chapter first provides the nature of the problem to which sentencing guidelines are a response and reviews the nature of sentencing guidelines in England and elsewhere.

Keywords: sentencing; guidelines; England; Wales; prison capacity; Sentencing Guidelines Council

Chapter.  8460 words. 

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