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March 14, 2008

Brennan Lecture on a topic that the Justice surely would have cared about

As documented at this official site, Justice Michael Wolff focused on sentencing issues at NYU when giving the 14th Annual Justice Brennan Lecture on State Courts and Social Justice last month. Justice Wolff, who sits on the Missouri Supreme Court and is the Chairman of the state's Sentencing Advisory Commission, titled his lecture "Evidence-Based Judicial Discretion: Promoting Public Safety through State Sentencing Reform."  Here is how his lecture began:

Americans put more people behind bars per capita than any country in the western world. But this rate of incarceration is not necessarily helping to reduce crime. In fact, when we put the wrong people in prison, we make them — and the problem of crime — worse. As we come to realize this, hopefully a new way of thinking about sentencing will emerge that will focus on sentencing outcomes as a way to ensure that public safety is a top national priority.

Sentencing is a complex topic that needs to be approached with humility, an open mind and common sense. I believe we have the analytical tools available to help create a system that minimizes recidivism and maximizes public safety.

March 14, 2008 at 09:37 AM | Permalink

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