Thursday, August 10, 2017
Mirko Bagaric, Nick Fischer and Gabrielle Wolf (Director of the Evidence-Based Sentencing and Criminal Justice Project, Swinburne University Law School, Monash University and Deakin Law School) have posted Bringing Sentencing into the 21st Century: Closing the Gap between Practice and Knowledge by Introducing Expertise into Sentencing Law (45 HOFSTRA LAW REVIEW 785-850 (2017)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The United States is experiencing a mass incarceration crisis. More Americans are imprisoned per capita than any other people on earth, and by a large margin. The financial toll of current rates of imprisonment on the American community is no longer sustainable, and the hardship inflicted by imprisonment on the great majority of prisoners is morally unjustifiable. The striking aspect about this crisis is that it was utterly predictable. For decades, sentencing experts have noted that several objectives that have been pursued to justify harsher sentences, such as general deterrence and general incapacitation, are flawed. These warnings have been ignored by law-makers, who instead have pursued an unremitting “tough on crime” agenda. This has resulted in an almost total disregard of expertise in sentencing law and a substantial gulf between practice and what is achievable in sentencing law. This Article argues that the major causes of the crisis are long-standing punitive attitudes to criminal justice in American society.