Sentencing Guidelines Resource Center
Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice


Guidelines & Commissions

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Alexis Lee Watts
In Depth: Sentencing Guidelines and Discretionary Parole Release

This article focuses on jurisdictions that have sentencing guidelines for judges on the “front end” of the punishment process but have also retained discretionary parole systems for the release of prisoners on the “back end.” As of this writing, there are eleven sentencing guidelines jurisdiction

Guidelines Grids
In Depth: Sentencing Guideline Grids

While there are many ways to calculate guidelines sentences, one of the most popular approaches is to draft a sentencing guideline grid.

Alexis Lee Watts
In Depth: Sentencing Guidelines and Correctional Resource Management

Sentencing guideline systems exist, in part, to monitor prison growth, prioritize the use of limited correctional resources, and avoid prison overcrowding.

Criminal History
Criminal History and Recidivism Risk: A Multi-Jurisdictional Comparison

In many guidelines jurisdictions, criminal history enhancements are partially or primarily employed as proxies for risk prevention. But to date, the question of whether these scores are actually valid predictors of risk has been under-explored.

Public Attitudes
Public Attitudes to Sentencing and Mass Imprisonment

Public opinion has been one of the drivers of mass imprisonment in the US, and of punitive sentencing generally in other countries. It is likely that Life without Parole (LWOP) sentences or ‘Three strikes’ sentencing laws would not have proliferated without widespread public support.

Minnesota Model
Sentencing Guidelines Systems: Leading the Way with Minnesota Model

Minnesota was the first state to enact sentencing guidelines in 1980.  Since then, multiple states, the federal government, and Washington, D.C. have followed suit.  But just as no state or jurisdiction is the same, no two sets of the sentencing guidelines are the same.