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May 1, 2009

A close look at Alabama's experiences with sentencing reform

In my view, there is clearly far too little scholarship on state sentencing systems (and probably too much on the federal sentencing system). It is thus exciting and refreshing to see this new piece on SSRN by Joseph Colquitt, titled "Can Alabama Handle the Truth (in Sentencing)?." Here is its abstract:

This Essay examines truth in sentencing, discusses its strengths and weaknesses, and analyzes what it will mean for Alabama.  The piece neither seeks to support or oppose the existing legislative mandate to adopt truth in sentencing in Alabama.  Rather, the Essay seeks to shed light on the issues, induce a healthy dialogue, and encourage the involved parties to garner a broad base of knowledge, carefully deliberate, properly design Alabama's truth-in-sentencing scheme, and ensure that the state has built the necessary infrastructure to support truth in sentencing.  Otherwise, adopting any truth-in-sentencing scheme would be imprudent. The Essay also examines Alabama past and present sentencing models and reports on the Sentencing Commission's voluntary sentencing guidelines presently used in the state as well as the challenges it faces in developing a truth-in-sentencing scheme in compliance the existing legislative mandate.

May 1, 2009 at 04:07 PM | Permalink


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Colquitt is a former (state) Circuit Court Judge. He knows of whence he speaks.

Posted by: slim | May 1, 2009 10:14:01 PM

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