Sentencing

Sentencing in the United States

Sentencing

United States Constitution

According to the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, about its article titled SENTENCINGAnomalously, the constitutional law of criminal sentencing is a thinly developed field. Detailed procedural protections and an elaborate body of constitutional doctrine govern the investigation and adjudication of guilt in the pretrial and trial phases of a criminal case. The sentencing
(read more about Constitutional law entries here).

Some Constitutional Law Popular Entries

Sentencing in State Statute Topics

Introduction to Sentencing (State statute topic)

The purpose of Sentencing is to provide a broad appreciation of the Sentencing legal topic. Select from the list of U.S. legal topics for information (other than Sentencing).

Race, Sentencing and the “Tough on Crime Movement”

In the context of justice on trials in the United States, civilrights.org publishes the following: reviews the issue of sentencing, and describes the role of Congress and other legislative bodies in shaping and implementing criminal justice policies that fall short of our commitment to equal treatment under the law. The decision to sentence a convicted criminal to prison has, until recently, been viewed as a profound responsibility, one entrusted solely to impartial judges. Increasingly, however, sentencing has become mundane and mechanistic, a decision effectively controlled by legislators, prosecutors and sentencing commissioners. This change in the culture of sentencing has had disastrous consequences for minorities in the United States.

One of the most thorough studies of sentencing disparities was undertaken by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, which studied felony sentencing outcomes in New York courts between 1990 and 1992. The State concluded that one-third of minorities sentenced to prison would have received a shorter or non-incarcerative sentence if they had been treated like similarly situated white defendants. If probation-eligible blacks had been treated like their white counterparts, more than 8000 fewer black defendants would have received prison in that two year period, resulting in a five percent decline in the percentage of blacks sentenced to jail as a percentage of the entire sentenced population. In short, the study found, blacks are sentenced to prison more frequently than whites for the same conduct.

Sentencing

Pennsylvania Trial Judges Must Explain Criminal Sentences (news), Author, No, 61: 197-198 (Oct. '77, AJS Judicature)

  • Play in the system (letter), Cohn, Avern, 82: 250 (May-June '99, AJS Judicature)
  • Plea Bargaining: Can Alaska Live Without It?, Rubinstein, Michael L. and White, Teresa J., 62: 266-279 (Dec.-Jan. '79, AJS Judicature)
  • Policymaking by Prosecutors: The Uses of Discretion in Regulating Plea Bargaining, Worden, Alissa Pollitz, 73: 335-340 (Apr.-May '90, AJS Judicature)
  • Presiding in Criminal Court: An Introduction (introduction), Morris, Norval and Tonry, Michael, 72: 7-11 (Jun.-Jul. '88, AJS Judicature)
  • Preventing Prison Crowding (letter), Lipscher, Robert D., 68: 208-209 (Dec.-Jan. '85, AJS Judicature)
  • Prisoners By Day: A Proposal to Sentence Non-Violent Offenders to a Non-Residential Work Facility, Balkin, Steven, 64: 154-164 (Oct. '80, AJS Judicature)
  • Problems in cocaine sentencing (viewpoint), Zedeck, Morris S., 95: 107-108 (Nov.-Dec. '11, AJS Judicature)
  • The Problems with Mandatory Minimum Sentences (editorial), Editorial, AJS, 77: 124-125 (Nov.-Dec. '93, AJS Judicature)
  • Profitable Penalties for Lower Level Courts, Glaser, Daniel and Gordon, Margaret A., 73: 248-252 (Feb.-Mar. '90, AJS Judicature)
  • Protecting Society (letter), Ringold, Solie M., 60: 360 (Mar. '77, AJS Judicature)
  • Public Policy and Prison Populations: Measuring Opinions About Reform, Gottfredson, Stephen D. and Taylor, Ralph B., 68: 190-201 (Oct.-Nov. '84, AJS Judicature)
  • Questions for the candidates, Editorial, AJS, 91: 108-109,134 (Nov-Dec '07, AJS Judicature)
  • Race and Crime: What Evidence Is There That Race Influences Results in the Criminal Justice System?, Morris, Norval, 72: 111-113 (Aug.-Sep. '88, AJS Judicature)
  • A Rational Method for Determining Prison Sentences, Nagel, Stuart S., Neef, Marion, and Weiman, Thomas, 61: 371-375 (Mar. '78, AJS Judicature)
  • Rehabilitating the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Miller, Marc, 78: 180-188 (Jan.-Feb. '95, AJS Judicature)
  • Ripon: Conclusion (letter), Nelson, Thomas Edward, 66: 325 (Feb. '83, AJS Judicature)
  • Ripon: Part II (letter), Hammond, John T., 66: 281, 235 (Feb. '83, AJS Judicature)
  • Second Circuit Judges Urged to Give Reasons for Sentencing (news), Chapin, Pat, 60: 46 (Jun.-Jul. '76, AJS Judicature)
  • Second-class justice, first-class punishment: The use of juvenile records in sentencing adults, Sanborn, Joseph B., Jr., 81: 206-213 (Mar.-Apr. '98, AJS Judicature)
  • Selective Incapacitation: A Sheep In Wolf's Clothing?, Forst, Brian, 68: 153-160 (Oct.-Nov. '84, AJS Judicature)
  • Sentencing Alternatives: Development, Implementation Issues and Evaluation, Harris, Philip W. and Harland, Alan T., 68: 210-219 (Dec.-Jan. '85, AJS Judicature)
  • Sentencing commissioners confirmed (brief), Richert, David, 83: 210 (Jan.-Feb. '00, AJS Judicature)
  • Sentencing Conference Examines Reform Impact (focus), Krasno, Miriam R., 67: 409-411 (Mar. '84, AJS Judicature)
  • Sentencing Councils (letter), Kennedy, Cornelia G., 60: 360 (Mar. '77, AJS Judicature)
  • Sentencing Guidelines and Prosecutorial Discretion, Boerner, David, 78: 196-200 (Jan.-Feb. '95, AJS Judicature)
  • Sentencing Guidelines and the Changing Composition of Criminal Appeals: A Preliminary Analysis, Williams, Jimmy J., 76: 94-96 (Aug.-Sep. '92, AJS Judicature)
  • Sentencing Guidelines Of The Right Sort (editorial), Editorial, AJS, 78: 168 (Jan.-Feb. '95, AJS Judicature)
  • Sentencing reform in the wake of Booker (editorial), Editorial, AJS, 88: 196, 231 (Mar.-Apr. '05, AJS Judicature)
  • Sentencing Reforms and Racial Disparities (viewpoint), Tonry, Michael, 78: 118-119, 159-160 (Nov.-Dec. '94, AJS Judicature)
  • Sentencing Reforms: Impacts and Implications, Blumstein, Alfred, 68: 129-139 (Oct.-Nov. '84, AJS Judicature)
  • Should Judges Go To Jail? (query), Douglas, Charles G., III, 62: 421, 452 (Apr. '79, AJS Judicature)
  • State and Federal Sentencing Guidelines: What's Working? What Isn't? (panel discussion), Discussion, Panel, 78: 207-211, 214 (Jan.-Feb. '95, AJS Judicature)
  • State Sentencing and Corrections Program provides peer assistance (focus), Darnton, Liz, 83: 315 (May-June '00, AJS Judicature)
  • State Sentencing Guidelines: Still Going Strong, Frase, Richard S., 78: 173-179 (Jan.-Feb. '95, AJS Judicature)
  • Statistical Conflicts (letter), Wilson, Gene, 60: 360 (Mar. '77, AJS Judicature)
  • Structured Sentencing: Building on Experience, Knapp, Kay A., 72: 64 (Jun.-Jul. '88, AJS Judicature)
  • Take Judges Out of Sentencing? (letter), Kellogg, Frederick R., 66: 221-222 (Nov. '82, AJS Judicature)
  • Tell Defendants That Parole Is Mandatory, Court Insists (news), Author, No, 62: 149 (Sep. '78, AJS Judicature)
  • Therapeutic jurisprudence in action: Specialized courts for the mentally ill, Lurigio, Arthur J., Watson, Amy, Luchins, Daniel J., and Hanrahan, Patricia, 84: 184-189 (Jan.-Feb. '01, AJS Judicature)
  • Three branches, not two: Congress should reconsider recent assaults on federal court sentencing discretion (editorial), Editorial, AJS, 86: 276, 324 (May-June '03, AJS Judicature)
  • Time to reexamine the U.S. sentencing guidelines and mandatory penalties (editorial), Editorial, AJS, 83: 176 (Jan.-Feb. '00, AJS Judicature)
  • The trouble with 'scarlet letter' punishments (viewpoint), Litowitz, Douglas, 81: 52-57 (Sept.-Oct. '97, AJS Judicature)
  • Twenty Years of Sentencing Reform: Steps Forward, Steps Backward, Tonry, Michael, 78: 169-172 (Jan.-Feb. '95, AJS Judicature)
  • A Two-Tier System of Justice? (letter), Bramwell, Henry, 64: 5 (Jun.-Jul. '80, AJS Judicature)
  • Understanding the United States' incarceration rate (viewpoint), Pizzi, William T., 95: 207-211 (Mar.-Apr. '12, AJS Judicature)
  • The Use of Fines by Trial Court Judges, Cole, George F., Mahoney, Barry, Thornton, Marlene, and Hanson, Roger A., 71: 325-333 (Apr.-May '88, AJS Judicature)
  • The Use of Fines in England: Could the Idea Work Here?, Carter, James A. and Cole, George F., 63: 154-161 (Oct. '79, AJS Judicature)
  • The Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 – Does It Promise More Than The System Can Deliver? (focus), Krasno, Miriam R., 66: 469-471 (May '83, AJS Judicature)
  • What do judges think about the Feeney Amendment?, Davis, Andre M., Piersol, Lawrence L., and Tacha, Deanell Reece, 88: 8-11 (July-Aug. '04, AJS Judicature)
  • What Does Sentencing Reform Do To Criminal Appeals?, Hanson, Roger A. and Chapper, Joy, 72: 50-52 (Jun.-Jul. '88, AJS Judicature)
  • What Sentencing Reform in Minnesota Has and Has Not Accomplished, Knapp, Kay A., 68: 181-189 (Oct.-Nov. '84, AJS Judicature)
  • When Corporations Commit Crimes: Sentencing Under the Federal 'Organizational Guidelines', Pilchen, Saul M., 78: 202-206 (Jan.-Feb. '95, AJS Judicature)
  • When Criminals Repay Their Victims: A Survey of Restitution Programs, Hudson, Joe, Galaway, Burt, and Chesney, Steve, 60: 312-321 (Feb. '77, AJS Judicature)
  • White-Collar v. Street Crime Sentencing Disparity: How Judges See the Problem, Pollack, Harriet and Smith, Alexander B., 67: 174-182 (Oct. '83, AJS Judicature)
  • Why Illinois Adopted Determinate Sentencing, Bagley, James J., 62: 390-397 (Mar. '79, AJS Judicature)
  • Will Definite Sentences Make A Difference?, Cole, George F., 61: 58-65 (Aug. '77, AJS Judicature)
  • Resources

    Further Reading

    • Three strikes and you're out': Are repeat offender laws having their anticipated effects?, Clark, John, Austin, James, and Henry, D. Alan, 81: 144-149 (Jan.-Feb. '98, AJS Judicature)
    • ABA commission to review sentences, prison conditions (brief), Richert, David, 87: 193 (Jan.-Feb. '04, AJS Judicature)
    • Another vacancy crisis (editorial), Editorial, AJS, 82: 152 (Jan.-Feb. '99, AJS Judicature)
    • As Definite Sentencing Begins, Illinois Still Debates Its Value (news), Author, No, 61: 384-385 (Mar. '78, AJS Judicature)
    • Asking the Right Questions (letter), Johns, Josephine W., 67: 264, 306 (Dec.-Jan. '84, AJS Judicature)
    • Author's Reply (letter), Kramer, John H., 71: 358 (Apr.-May '88, AJS Judicature)
    • Author's Response (letter), Snellenburg, Sidney C., 71: 133 (Oct.-Nov. '87, AJS Judicature)
    • Bronx court focuses on nonviolent crimes (brief), Buzynski, Dawn, 89: 91 (Sept.-Oct. '05, AJS Judicature)
    • Building A Sentencing Reform Agenda: The ABA's New Sentencing Standards, Reitz, Kevin R. and Reitz, Curtis R., 78: 189-195 (Jan.-Feb. '95, AJS Judicature)
    • Can Pretrial Release Programs Provide Help for Overcrowded Jails? (query), Mahoney, Michael J., 67: 110-111, 151-153 (Sep. '83, AJS Judicature)
    • The capital jury: is it tilted toward death?, Bowers, William J., 79: 220-223 (Mar.-Apr. '96, AJS Judicature)
    • The Case for Judicial Discretion in Sentencing, Evans, Walter and Gilbert, Frank, 61: 66-69 (Aug. '77, AJS Judicature)
    • Cocaine sentencing and bad chemistry, Zedeck, Morris S., 84: 86-89 (Sept.-Oct. '00, AJS Judicature)
    • Community Sentencing Lets Offenders Repay Society (focus), Abrahams, Steven, 65: 378-380 (Feb. '82, AJS Judicature)
    • A Conversation Between A Judge and His Friend Concerning Whether the Judge Should Sentence A Defendant to Death, Ledewitz, Bruce, 71: 7-12 (Jun.-Jul. '87, AJS Judicature)
    • Correction (letter), Dierdoff, David R., 62: 56 (Aug. '78, AJS Judicature)
    • Correction (letter), Hallock, Walter E., Jr., 64: 4 (Jun.-Jul. '80, AJS Judicature)
    • Corrections, Author, No, 64: 252 (Dec.-Jan. '81, AJS Judicature)
    • Crime and incarceration (brief), Richert, David, 84: 103 (Sept.-Oct. '00, AJS Judicature)
    • Criminal Sentencing in Transition, Gottfredson, Don M., 68: 125-127 (Oct.-Nov. '84, AJS Judicature)
    • Criminal Sentencing: A Game of Chance, Kennedy, Edward M., 60: 208-215 (Dec. '76, AJS Judicature)
    • Critical Issues In The Courtroom: Exploring a Hypothetical Case, Author, No, 72: 12-22 (Jun.-Jul. '88, AJS Judicature)
    • Cultural considerations in motions and sentencing, Connell, James G, III, 92: 212-215, 248 (6, AJS Judicature)
    • Determinate Sentencing and Plea Bargaining (letter), Nagel, Stuart S., 64: 108 (Sep. '80, AJS Judicature)
    • The Development of Appellate Sentence Review in Alaska, DiPietro, Susanne, 75: 143-153 (Oct-Nov '91, AJS Judicature)
    • Do Sex Offender Treatment Programs Work? (focus), Finn, Peter, 78: 250-252 (Mar.-Apr. '95, AJS Judicature)
    • Electronic Monitorning and Recidivism (letter), Clarke, Stevens H., 76: 213 (Dec.-Jan. '93, AJS Judicature)
    • Electronic Monitorning of Drug Offenders on Probation, Glaser, Daniel and Watts, Ronald, 76: 112-117 (Oct.-Nov. '92, AJS Judicature)
    • An Examination of the Victim's Role at Sentencing: Results of a Survey of Probation Administrators, McLeod, Maureen, 71: 162-168 (Oct.-Nov. '87, AJS Judicature)
    • Exploring judicial behaviors in the laboratories of democracy, Wolff, Michael A., 83: 267-269 (Mar.-Apr. '00, AJS Judicature)
    • The extravagance of imprisonment revisited, Vuong, Linh, Hartney, Christopher, Krisberg, Barry, and Marchionna, Susan, 94: 70-80 (sep-oct '10, AJS Judicature)
    • The Fiction of Corporate Crime (letter), Diamond, Hymen, 78: 220 (Mar.-Apr. '95, AJS Judicature)
    • Flat Time Sentences Grow In Popularity (news), Hoelzel, Bill, 60: 244-246 (Dec. '76, AJS Judicature)
    • Florida's Sentencing Guidelines: Surviving – But Just Barely, Holten, N. Gary and Handberg, Roger, 73: 259-267 (Feb.-Mar. '90, AJS Judicature)
    • Glaser and Watts Respond (letter), Glaser, Daniel and Watts, Ronald, 76: 213-214 (Dec.-Jan. '93, AJS Judicature)
    • A Helpful and Timely Reminder (letter), Scheb, John M., 68: 5 (Jun.-Jul. '84, AJS Judicature)
    • How judges respond to drunk drivers, Breer, M. Lynn, Schwartz, Abby, Schillo, Barbara A., and Savage, Deborah, 87: 72-78, 89 (Sept.-Oct. '03, AJS Judicature)
    • How One Judge Uses Alternative Sentencing, McCarty, Francis, 60: 316-317 (Feb. '77, AJS Judicature)
    • Illinois High Court Sets New Limits for Judicial Discipline Commission (news), Author, No, 61: 382-383 (Mar. '78, AJS Judicature)
    • Improving collection of court-ordered restitution, Davis, Robert C. and Bannister, Tanya M., 79: 30-33 (July-Aug. '95, AJS Judicature)
    • Increasing Offender Compliance with Restitution Orders, Davis, Robert C., Smith, Barbara, and Hillenbrand, Susan, 74: 245-248 (Feb.-Mar. '91, AJS Judicature)
    • Is Determinate Sentencing An Illusory Reform?, Orland, Leonard, 62: 381-389 (Mar. '79, AJS Judicature)
    • Is the End of Judicial Sentencing In Sight?, Kress, Jack M., Wilkins, Leslie T., and Gottfredson, Don M., 60: 216-228 (Dec. '76, AJS Judicature)
    • Is There A Reasonable Alternative to the Death Penalty? (query), Snellenburg, Sidney C., 71: 5-6 (Jun.-Jul. '87, AJS Judicature)
    • Is There No Alternative To The Hard Line In Juvenile Justice? (query), Conrad, John, 67: 162-163, 203-206 (Oct. '83, AJS Judicature)
    • Issues in judicial independence and accountability, Author, No, 88: 114-121 (Nov.-Dec. '04, AJS Judicature)
    • It is time to end the war on drugs (editorial), no, author, 93: 48, 83 (1, 2, AJS Judicature)
    • It's Time to Rehabilitate the Sentencing Process, McKay, Robert, 60: 223-228 (Dec. '76, AJS Judicature)
    • Judicial override in Alabama: a singular example in death sentencing (brief), Ream, Michael Ream, 95: 49 (July-Aug '11, AJS Judicature)
    • Judicial Responses to Prison Crowding, Finn, Peter, 67: 318, 325 (Feb. '84, AJS Judicature)
    • Judicial Sentencing Guidelines: Hazards of the Middle Ground, Carrow, Deborah M., 68: 161-170 (Oct.-Nov. '84, AJS Judicature)
    • Justice, Not Therapy: A New Mission for Corrections, Fogel, David F., 62: 372-380 (Mar. '79, AJS Judicature)
    • Local Response to Prison Crowding (letter), Cramer, Judith A., 68: 4-5 (Jun.-Jul. '84, AJS Judicature)
    • Mainstream sentencing—The urgent need for dramatic reform (devil's advocate), Wolff, Michael A. and De, Muniz, Paul, J., 92: 165-166 (4, AJS Judicature)
    • A Major and Minor Issue (letter), Tonry, Michael, 71: 358 (Apr.-May '88, AJS Judicature)
    • Making Criminals Pay (letter), Brown, Ray C., 64: 299, 336 (Feb. '81, AJS Judicature)
    • Maryland's Sentencing Guidelines – A System By and For Judges, Levin, Marshall A., 68: 172-180 (Oct.-Nov. '84, AJS Judicature)
    • Mr. Kellogg Responds (letter), Kellogg, Frederick R., 66: 326 (Feb. '83, AJS Judicature)
    • A New Look At Restitution: Recent Legislation, Programs and Research, Chesney, Steve, Hudson, Joe, and McLagen, John, 61: 348-357 (Mar. '78, AJS Judicature)
    • North Carolina's Determinate Sentencing Legislation, Clarke, Stevens H., 68: 140-152 (Oct.-Nov. '84, AJS Judicature)
    • Not Persuaded (letter), Paternoster, Paul F., 71: 132-133 (Oct.-Nov. '87, AJS Judicature)
    • Obvious Predictability (letter), Ward, William B., 68: 304 (Feb.-Mar. '85, AJS Judicature)
    • On The Ripon Society Proposal (letter), Rosenbloom, Noah S., 66: 281 (Feb. '83, AJS Judicature)
    • An open letter to the new president about the administration of justice (editorial), Editorial, AJS, 84: 172 (Jan.-Feb. '01, AJS Judicature)
    • An Open Letter to the New President About the Administration of Justice (editorial), Editorial, AJS, 76: 168-169 (Dec.-Jan. '93, AJS Judicature)
    • Part-Time Imprisonment: The Legal and Practical Issues of Periodic Confinement, Parisi, Nicolette, 63: 385-395 (Mar. '80, AJS Judicature)
    • Pennsylvania House Rejects Mandatory Sentencing Bill (news), Author, No, 60: 301 (Jan. '77, AJS Judicature)
    • Resources

      Further Reading

      Labeling Focal Concerns Theory in relation to Crime and Race

      Labeling Focal Concerns Theory is included in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime (1), beginning with: According to focal concerns theory, three focal concerns have an effect on sentencing decisions: blameworthiness of the offender, protection of the community, and organizational restraints and consequences. Minorities are more likely to be labeled negatively when appearing in court based upon these three focal concerns. Debate has occurred on how prevalent this labeling is as well as how it might impact the sentencing and punishment of minority defendants. The entry examines the three focal concerns and how this labeling process results in disparities in minority sentencing and punishment. The focal concerns perspective is a theoretical framework which states that judges sentence individuals based upon perceptions and stereotypes surrounding three foci. The first focus is how blameworthy the offender is. This focus reflects the nature and seriousness of the offense, the offender’s involvement with the offense, and the offender’s previous record.

      Race, Sentencing and the “Tough on Crime Movement”

      In the context of justice on trials in the United States, civilrights.org publishes the following: reviews the issue of sentencing, and describes the role of Congress and other legislative bodies in shaping and implementing criminal justice policies that fall short of our commitment to equal treatment under the law. The decision to sentence a convicted criminal to prison has, until recently, been viewed as a profound responsibility, one entrusted solely to impartial judges. Increasingly, however, sentencing has become mundane and mechanistic, a decision effectively controlled by legislators, prosecutors and sentencing commissioners. This change in the culture of sentencing has had disastrous consequences for minorities in the United States.

      One of the most thorough studies of sentencing disparities was undertaken by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, which studied felony sentencing outcomes in New York courts between 1990 and 1992. The State concluded that one-third of minorities sentenced to prison would have received a shorter or non-incarcerative sentence if they had been treated like similarly situated white defendants. If probation-eligible blacks had been treated like their white counterparts, more than 8000 fewer black defendants would have received prison in that two year period, resulting in a five percent decline in the percentage of blacks sentenced to jail as a percentage of the entire sentenced population. In short, the study found, blacks are sentenced to prison more frequently than whites for the same conduct.

      Resources

      Notes and References

      1. Entry about Labeling Focal Concerns Theory in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime

      See Also

      Sentencing in relation to Crime and Race

      Sentencing is included in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime (1), beginning with: Sentencing is the imposition of punishment. After a defendant pleads guilty to a crime or is convicted as the result of a trial, the focus shifts from prosecution to the sanctioning of guilty defendants. The judge imposes the sanctions on the defendant. The punishment of guilty defendants has philosophical justifications and occurs as the result of a codified process. Despite the philosophical justifications and structured process, some research suggests that there is disparity and discrimination in sentencing. The research findings helped spur a 30-year reform movement. Some of the reforms appear to be at least partially successful. Despite the success of some reforms, research continues to identify race-related sentencing disparity. A number of sentencing-related cases mark the legal landscape in the early 21st century, with the continuing goal of amending the sentencing process to ensure that it is consistent with the protections of the Constitution of the United States.

      Race, Sentencing and the “Tough on Crime Movement”

      In the context of justice on trials in the United States, civilrights.org publishes the following: reviews the issue of sentencing, and describes the role of Congress and other legislative bodies in shaping and implementing criminal justice policies that fall short of our commitment to equal treatment under the law. The decision to sentence a convicted criminal to prison has, until recently, been viewed as a profound responsibility, one entrusted solely to impartial judges. Increasingly, however, sentencing has become mundane and mechanistic, a decision effectively controlled by legislators, prosecutors and sentencing commissioners. This change in the culture of sentencing has had disastrous consequences for minorities in the United States.

      One of the most thorough studies of sentencing disparities was undertaken by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, which studied felony sentencing outcomes in New York courts between 1990 and 1992. The State concluded that one-third of minorities sentenced to prison would have received a shorter or non-incarcerative sentence if they had been treated like similarly situated white defendants. If probation-eligible blacks had been treated like their white counterparts, more than 8000 fewer black defendants would have received prison in that two year period, resulting in a five percent decline in the percentage of blacks sentenced to jail as a percentage of the entire sentenced population. In short, the study found, blacks are sentenced to prison more frequently than whites for the same conduct.

      Resources

      Notes and References

      1. Entry about Sentencing in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime

      See Also

      Sentencing and Sanctions in the Criminal Justice System

  • Sentencing: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

    Federal Primary Materials

    The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Sentencing. This part provides references, in relation to Sentencing, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

    Federal primary materials about Sentencing by content types:

    Laws and Regulations

    US Constitution
    Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

    Federal Case Law and Court Materials

    U.S. Courts of Appeals
    United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

    Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

    Presidential Materials

    Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

    Executive Materials

    Federal Legislative History Materials

    Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Sentencing and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Sentencing or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

    State Administrative Materials and Resources

    State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Sentencing and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Sentencing. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Sentencing should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

    State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

    State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Sentencing when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

    Tools and Forms

    Law in Other Regions

    *This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

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