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December 11, 2012

Professor Frase guest-blogging on "Just Sentencing"

File.phpEspecially because I so greatly enjoyed Professor Stephanos Bibas earlier this year guest-blogging on "The Machinery of Criminal Justice" (series here), I am very pleased to be able to now welcome Professor Richard Frase as a guest-blogger to discuss sentencing issues raised by his terrific new book titled "Just Sentencing: Principles and Procedures for a Workable System," which was just published by Oxford University Press and is available here.

Richard's first guest post will appear later today, and everyone can get excited about the series based on this summary of the book's coverage via this page at the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice:

What are the most important purposes of punishment, in general and in particular cases?  What makes just sentencing? These eternal questions are very difficult to answer because traditional as well as emerging sentencing purposes often conflict.  Retributive and non-retributive institutions and intuitions of justice are both deeply-rooted and each equally hard to ignore.  There is no generally accepted or well-elaborated theory to guide and evaluate recent or proposed sentencing changes, and most of the major books on sentencing theory are outdated.  There is a compelling need for a new sentencing model.

In Just Sentencing, Richard Frase describes and defends a hybrid sentencing model that integrates theory and practice–blending and balancing both the competing principles of retribution and rehabilitation and the procedural concern of weighing rules against discretion.  Frase lays out a sentencing reform model based on the theory of limiting retributivism.  The theory accommodates retributive values–especially the human-rights-based need to limit maximum sanction severity–along with crime-control goals such as deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and moral education.  It also promotes efficiency and provides sufficient flexibility to incorporate victim and community participation, local values and resource limitations, and restorative justice programs. Frase presents his significantly expanded version of the limiting retributive model and distinguishes it from versions proposed by others. Next, he demonstrates the practical feasibility and widespread support for this approach by showing how it has been successfully implemented in Minnesota, while also identifying the less developed limiting retributive elements found in almost all Western countries.  The final part of the book identifies and attempts to resolve the model’s most important theoretical and practical challenges, and suggest further improvements.

Just Sentencing is the first book in over forty years to present a fully developed punishment theory which incorporates both utilitarian and retributive sentencing purposes.

December 11, 2012 at 09:20 AM | Permalink

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