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Criminal Law

Saint Louis University School of Law

Corrections

2008

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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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 - …