CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, June 8, 2018

Roberts & Gazal-Ayal on Sentencing Reform in Israel

Julian V. Roberts and Oren Gazal-Ayal (University of Ottawa - Department of Criminology and University of Haifa - Faculty of Law) have posted Statutory Sentencing Reform in Israel: Exploring the Sentencing Law of 2012 (Israel Law Review, 46(3), p. 455-479) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In 2012 the Knesset approved a new sentencing law. Israel thus became the latest jurisdiction to introduce statutory directions for courts to follow in sentencing. The approach of the United States to structuring judicial discretion often entails the use of a sentencing grid with presumptive sentencing ranges. In contrast, the Sentencing Act of Israel reflects a less prescriptive method: it provides guidance by words rather than numbers. Retributivism is clearly identified as the penal philosophy underpinning the new law, which takes a novel approach to promoting more proportionate sentencing. Courts are directed to construct an individualised proportionate sentencing range appropriate to the case in hand. Once this is established, the court then follows additional directions regarding factors and principles related to sentencing. Although other jurisdictions have placed the purposes and principles of sentencing on a statutory footing, this is the first such legislative declaration in Israel. The statute also contains a methodology to implement a proportional approach to sentencing as well as detailed guidance on sentencing factors. This article describes and explores the new Sentencing Act, making limited comparisons to sentencing reforms in other jurisdictions – principally England and Wales, New Zealand and the United States. In concluding, we speculate on the likely consequences of the law: will it achieve the goals of promoting more consistent and principled sentencing?

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