CrimProf Blog

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Freiberg & Roberts on Sentencing Commissions and Guidelines

Arie Freiberg and Julian V. Roberts (Monash University - Faculty of Law and University of Oxford - Centre for Criminology) have posted Sentencing Commissions and Guidelines: A Case Study in Policy Transfer (Criminal Law Forum 2022) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Over the past few decades, the traditional, discretionary approach to sentencing has been progressively replaced by structured regimes often administered by sentencing commissions or councils. Sentencing guidelines of one kind or another have proliferated across the common law world and constitute the most significant development in sentencing in a century. This article examines the creation and subsequent proliferation of sentencing commissions since the establishment of the first commissions in Minnesota and Pennsylvania in 1978.

The article explores the process by which the idea of a sentencing commission and its guidelines has spread to other jurisdictions. This process, referred to as policy transfer, diffusion, transplantation, convergence, translation or policy learning, modelling or borrowing, can provide insight into why a policy innovation in one jurisdiction is emulated or adapted in another, and the means by which such innovations are communicated over time and between jurisdictions.

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