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Why Sentencing Circles Might Improve the Way Courts Communicate

Christian, Peg
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) VOMA Connections. Fall (15): 12.

As Peg Christian puts it, offenders who are being sentenced often do not understand their court-imposed sentence and instructions. Various factors on the day of sentencing – for example, stress on the offender, the language of the courts, and the pace of sentencing proceedings – can impair the ability of the offender to grasp the nature and implications of his or her sentence. This lack of understanding and feelings generated by it can in turn adversely affect the outcomes of the sentence. In this context, Christian argues that sentencing proceedings conducted in a more collaborative fashion- such as sentencing circles- would promote better understanding and better outcomes from sentencing.


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