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


Guidelines & Commissions

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Richard S. Frase
How Sentencing Guidelines and Other Reforms Can Reduce Unfair Penalties Imposed on Offenders Found Guilty At Trial

One of the major criticisms of American plea bargaining is that it punishes offenders for exercising their constitutional right to demand proof of guilt at trial.

Rhys Hester
Sentencing as a Human Process

Over the decades, sentencing guidelines have been both celebrated and castigated.

Richard S. Frase
Criminal History Sentencing Enhancements Imprison Too Many Aging, Low-Risk Offenders

Sentence enhancements based on the offender’s prior convictions (or “criminal history”) are found in virtually all modern sentencing systems (Roberts 2008).

Kevin R. Reitz
New Model Penal Code for Criminal Sentencing Approved by the American Law Institute: Comprehensive Reform Recommendations for State Legislatures

The new MPCS offers a comprehensive set of statutory recommendations to state legislatures on the subject of criminal sentencing, supported by explanatory comments and extensive research notes. The Code is also addressed to the judicial and executive branches, policymakers in corrections agencies, academic researchers, the media, opinion leaders, and everyone interested in changing the landscape of criminal punishment in the US.

The Composition of Sentencing Commissions

Sentencing commissions vary greatly in their purpose and structure. This article will examine the composition of sentence commissions and how members are selected.

Police Lights
Timelines of Sentencing Commissions and Sentencing Guidelines Enactments: 1978 to the Present

Starting in the late 1970’s, state sentencing commissions have been founded to help regulate criminal punishment in their jurisdictions. Commissions are formed for a number of reasons, and have varying structures, responsibilities, and locations in their state government. Their duties may include formation and revision of sentencing guidelines, analyzing current and future sentencing practices, policies, or laws, proposing new sentencing policies, and/or serving as an informational resource for the jurisdiction.