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Impact of Sentencing Guidelines

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Running Head: THE IMPACT OF SENTENCING GUIDELINES

The Impact of Sentencing Guidelines on the Criminal Justice System

Talisha L Alexander

Survey of Public Safety Issues, Theory, and Concepts

Abstract

Our criminal-justice system has an obligation to impose just sentences. The United States Sentencing Commission is the result of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, part of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, which sought to change the federal criminal sentencing policy and practice abolishing parole at the federal level. Even though there were laws created to ensure that sentencing was fair, the disparity amongst sentencing from state to state, and judge to judge provided proof that sentencing was indeed black or
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First, Congress sought honesty in sentencing, trying to avoid the deception of pre-guideline sentencing system and empowering the parole commission to determine how much of the sentence an offender would serve as opposed to the former indeterminate sentence imposed by the courts. Second, Congress sought reasonable uniformity in sentencing by narrowing the wide disparity in sentences imposed for similar criminal offenses committed by similar offenders. Third, Congress sought proportionality in sentencing through a system that imposes appropriately different sentences for criminal conduct of differing severity (Grong, 2002, p 2).

Even though the law was created to ensure that sentencing was fair, the disparity amongst sentencing from state to state, and judge to judge provided proof that sentencing was black or white. There was no grey area. Sentencing was a reflection on color of the individual committing the crime and not the crime committed. The impact of sentencing was guided by prejudices. As stated earlier, the punishment must fit the crime and the behavior of the individuals. The Commission’s guidelines were to close the gap by requiring defendants be sentenced according to their criminal backgrounds and the seriousness of the crimes they committed
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