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New Approach to Sentencing

Lord Woolf, Elmar G. M
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Judicial Officers’ Bulletin. 15(3): 17-21, to 24.

Recent reports have described the sentencing policies in England and Wales as ineffective, thereby not delivering the primary role of the criminal justice system, the protection of the public. In this bulletin, the author acknowledges that the United Kingdom has attached too great an importance to punishment or imprisonment and paid insufficient attention to the other objectives, deterrence and rehabilitation. Instead of seeking to reduce the number of victims, there is an obsession with satisfying the public’s and individual victim’s desire for vengeance. The author recommends a new approach which involves recognizing what should be the order of priorities when sentencing and placing a greater emphasis on the prevention of crime and a greater priority given to the police and probation services. A greater emphasis is suggested on community punishment, restorative justice, and rehabilitation. These recommendations led to the establishment of a new Sentencing Guidelines Council to create a new code of sentencing guidelines. In addition, the ideas of utilizing a holistic approach (involving families of potential repeat offenders), changing the emphasis from long prison sentences to meaningful and effective alternatives, confiscating the proceeds of crime, establishing problem-solving courts, and reexamining mandatory sentencing are reviewed. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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