Key Elements of Guidelines Systems

  • Active Sentencing Commission

    Active Sentencing Commission

    Indicates whether the jurisdiction has or once had an active sentencing commission to review and periodically update the guidelines.

  • Prison and Jail Resource Management

    Prison and Jail Resource Management

    Indicates whether one of the goals of the guidelines is to help manage jail and prison resources.

  • Enforcement by Appeals

    Enforcement by Appeals

    Indicates whether and to what extent the parties can appeal the sentence on the grounds that it is not consistent with guidelines rules or policies.

  • Parole Discretion Abolished

    Parole Discretion Abolished

    Indicates the extent to which parole as the mechanism for determining the timing of release from prison has been abolished or retained.

  • Non-Felony Level Offenses Also Covered

    Non-Felony Level Offenses Also Covered

    Indicates whether the guidelines cover felony offenses only or felony and non-felony offenses.

  • Sentencing Grids Used

    Sentencing Grids Used

    Indicates whether the jurisdiction employs sentencing grids, or whether narrative rules and/or worksheets are used to derive recommended sentences.

  • Consecutive Sentencing Regulated

    Consecutive Sentencing Regulated

    Indicates whether the guidelines limit the sentencing judge’s discretion in choosing between consecutive and concurrent prison sentences for multiple current offenses.

  • Guidelines Require Legislative Approval

    Guidelines Require Legislative Approval

    Indicates whether and to what extent modifications to the guidelines require legislative approval before taking effect.


    Jurisdiction Profiles

    New and Noteworthy

    In October, 2016, The Massachusetts Sentencing Commission held a public hearing on a host of ideas for possible reform.  The Commission was reconstituted by the Governor in 2015, and has spent the last year identifying issues and researching policies and practices in other states.  The public hearing was an opportunity to gather feedback on some of...

    New To The Repository