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Transforming the Punishment Environment: Understanding Public Views of What Should be Accomplished at Sentencing

Doob, Anthony
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Canadian Journal of Criminology. 42(3): 323-340.

Canada does not have a sensible and defensible sentencing policy. The problems with sentencing are much more serious than the often repeated mantra that “sentences are not harsh enough.” Most Canadians are intelligent enough to understand that harsher sentences are not the most effective way of controlling crime, generally, or youth crime in particular. In fact, most Canadians would prefer to invest in non-prison sanctions or prevention than to invest in more prisons (for adults or youth). The public, it would appear, would prefer that their political leaders and their judges look for sensible ways of using resources which, at the same time, would ensure that adults and youth are held accountable for what they have done. There is a clear need for public policy to move away from simple rhetoric of “harsh” or “soft” in sentencing to a debate about what is intelligent and fair. Author’s abstract


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