CrimProf Blog

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

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Tonry on Doing Justice in Sentencing

Michael Tonry (University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law) has posted Doing Justice in Sentencing (Crime and Justice—A Review of Research, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Anyone who would read a paper on this subject or with this title knows that sentences received by people convicted of crimes in American courts, especially serious ones, are much too often cruelly severe, racially disparate, and reflective more of a prosecutor’s or judge’s idiosyncrasies than of a reasoned assessment of what considerations of justice concerning this offense by this person require or permit. The process is ultimately casual, as if invasive intrusion into someone’s life is a matter of no great importance. To people sentenced, their families, and others who love them it is devastatingly important. Relatively simple ideas about justice, fairness, equality, and parsimony provide a framework to replace contemporary casual justice with a jurisprudence that takes human dignity seriously.

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