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Saint Louis University School of Law

Sentencing

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Follow The Leader: The Advisability And Propriety Of Considering Cost And Recidivism Data At Sentencing, Lynn S. Branham Jan 2012

Follow The Leader: The Advisability And Propriety Of Considering Cost And Recidivism Data At Sentencing, Lynn S. Branham

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The Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission has begun to provide judges with information that enables them, before imposing a sentence, to compare the financial costs of several different sentencing options and the recidivism risks they pose. Although this initiative has sparked controversy, I, for one, favor taking steps like this one to help extricate us from the “same ole, same ole” sentencing box in which uninformed, and sometimes misinformed, sentencing decision making is the norm.

This article provides an overview of six of the primary reasons why providing judges some very basic facts about the financial cost of several sentencing options …


Plowing In Hope: A Three-Part Framework For Incorporating Restorative Justice Into Sentencing And Correctional Systems, Lynn S. Branham Jan 2012

Plowing In Hope: A Three-Part Framework For Incorporating Restorative Justice Into Sentencing And Correctional Systems, Lynn S. Branham

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This essay proposes the adoption of a three-part framework to effectuate fundamental changes in conventional sentencing and correctional constructs, making restorative justice a mainstay of sentencing and correctional systems. First, federal, state, and local governments would authorize the imposition of what would be – in name, purpose, and content – “restorative sentences.” The growing, processing, and distribution of locally grown foods in low-income neighborhoods particularly afflicted by crime is an example of what could become a prevalent restorative sentence. The essay outlines a number of steps to be undertaken by jurisdictions in order to realize the goals of restorative sentencing. …


'The Mess We’Re In': Five Steps Towards The Transformation Of Prison Cultures, Lynn S. Branham Jan 2011

'The Mess We’Re In': Five Steps Towards The Transformation Of Prison Cultures, Lynn S. Branham

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Few dispute that conditions in prisons need to be improved – that, for example, prisoners with mental-health problems need to have those problems addressed, and addressed effectively, while they are confined. But the more fundamental question is whether prisons can be, not just improved, but transformed. Transformation in this context means deep and sustained changes in the ethos of those who work and live in prisons. That ethos would reflect at least four precepts: (1) hope as an imperative; (2) the viability of renewal; (3) the catharsis that attends personal responsibility and accountability; and (4) the duty and call, extending …


Beyond Experience: Getting Retributive Justice Right, Dan Markel, Chad Flanders, David C. Gray Jan 2011

Beyond Experience: Getting Retributive Justice Right, Dan Markel, Chad Flanders, David C. Gray

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How central should hedonic adaptation be to the establishment of sentencing policy?

In earlier work, Professors Bronsteen, Buccafusco, and Masur (BBM) drew some normative significance from the psychological studies of adaptability for punishment policy. In particular, they argued that retributivists and utilitarians alike are obliged on pain of inconsistency to take account of the fact that most prisoners, most of the time, adapt to imprisonment in fairly short order, and therefore suffer much less than most of us would expect. They also argued that ex-prisoners don't adapt well upon re-entry to society and that social planners should consider their post-release …


American Oresteia: Herbert Wechsler, The Model Penal Code, And The Uses Of Revenge, Anders Walker Jan 2009

American Oresteia: Herbert Wechsler, The Model Penal Code, And The Uses Of Revenge, Anders Walker

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The American Law Institute recently revised the Model Penal Code's sentencing provisions, calling for a renewed commitment to proportionality based on the gravity of offenses, the "blameworthiness" of offenders, and the "harms done to crime victims." Already, detractors have criticized this move, arguing that it replaces the Code's original commitment to rehabilitation with a more punitive attention to retribution. Yet, missing from such calumny is an awareness of retribution's subtle yet significant role in both the drafting and enactment of the first Model Penal Code (MPC). This article recovers that role by focusing on the retributive views of its first …


Brennan Lecture Evidence-Based Judicial Discretion: Promoting Public Safety Through State Sentencing Reform, Michael A. Wolff Jan 2008

Brennan Lecture Evidence-Based Judicial Discretion: Promoting Public Safety Through State Sentencing Reform, Michael A. Wolff

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In this speech delivered for the annual Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Lecture on State Courts and Social Justice, the Honorable Michael Wolff offers a new way of thinking about sentencing. Instead of attempting to limit judicial discretion and increase incarceration, states should aim to reduce recidivism in order to make our communities safer. Judge Wolff uses the example of Missouri's sentencing reforms to argue that states should adopt evidence-based sentencing, in which the effectiveness of different sentences and treatment programs are regularly evaluated. In pre-sentencing investigative reports, probation officers should attempt to quantify - based on historical data - …