Sentencing Guidelines Essay

1717 words - 7 pages

The Impact of Sentencing Guidelines on the Criminal Justice System
Public Safety Capstone Project

Our criminal justice system has an obligation to impose fair sentences. The United States
Sentencing Commission is the result of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 that had laws created
to ensure that sentencing was fair from state to state, and a judge provided proof of that
sentencing was indeed black and white. To eliminate the possibility of being unjust, the
government became involved in creating guidelines on the punishment that was rendered based
on the type or types of crimes an individual committed. Sentencing guidelines were imposed to
set the terms that would fit the ...view middle of the document...

3 million
people, a number greater than the population of Houston, Texas (Hall, 2012).” Due to
mandatory prison sentences not only did it raise the populations in our prisons, but it is forcing
state and local criminal justice systems to spend more money on prisons when it could be spent
on crime prevention.


Hall, S. (2012). The American Bar Association. Policies that Impact the Criminal Justice System.
Sentencing guidelines carry mandatory prison sentences for an array of offenses, including
nonviolent drug charges and this has swelled the nation’s prison population. Mandatory prison
sentences raise prison populations, forcing state and local criminal justice systems to spend more
money on prisons where this money could be spent on crime prevention or other law
enforcement measures.

Leavitt, J. (2011). Brigham Young University Law Review: How United States v. Ressam Encourages
Overly Stringent Review of Sentencing Decisions. 2011 B.Y.U.L. Rev. 171.
In the case of United States v. Ressam the United States appellate courts were to examine all
sentences inside and outside of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, for both procedural errors
and substantive reasonableness, using the abuse-of-discretion standard. The Court’s Decision
the Ninth Circuit, vacated Ressam’s sentence based on errors in the sentencing process: failure to
properly consider guidelines and failure to adequately address the government’s arguments
regarding Ressam’s history and characteristics, the value of his cooperation with prosecutors, and
the need for a longer sentence to adequately protect the public. Due to these traditional policies
and standards were used to examine Ressam’s sentence for procedural error that had failed to
accord the district court the deference it should have received under a properly applied abuse-of-
discretion standard. This case is an example of how District courts must ensure that sentences
that they impose meet certain requirements in order to pass appellate scrutiny. Appellate courts
review such sentences under the deferential abuse-of-discretion review standard by assessing two
parts: procedural error and substantive reasonableness. If judges are to sentence outside of these
guidelines it would require “sufficiently compelling” justification. This case shows how
sentencing guidelines impact the Criminal Justice system.

Parent, D; Dunworth, T; McDonald, D; & Rhodes, W. (1996). National Institute of Justice: The Impact
Of Sentencing Guidelines.
The use of sentencing guidelines in the United States has been growing and generated a debate
with respects to their effects on the criminal justice system in jurisdictions and where they have
been enacted. In 1996,...

Other Papers Like Sentencing Guidelines

A Critique Of Sentencing Outcomes Essay

1721 words - 7 pages rehabilitative disposal. In developing sentencing guidelines, a consultation is undertaken with criminal justice professionals and the wider public over a 12 week period before the final sentencing guidelines are produced and implemented. This essay will go on to examine the sentencing passed for two case studies and link in with the philosophies of punishment, the aggravating and mitigating factors in each case and the proportionality of the sentence

What Should Be Done About the Racial Disparities in the Sentencing of Criminals?

1394 words - 6 pages passed the Fair Housing Act. Yet today, the current housing for approximately 2 million Americans – two-thirds of them African American or Hispanic – is a prison or jail cell. ( B. Rather than reducing unfair racial disparities in federal sentencing, the evidence shows that the guidelines made the problem worse. Just before Thanksgiving, the Sentencing Commission released a report assessing

The Effect Of Drug Laws On Crack And Powder Cocaine On African Americans

2358 words - 10 pages discriminatory toward African-Americans. Federal policy is responsible for this disparity, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 and Public Law 104-38 (Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Amendment, Disapproval) being the most significant contributors. Differences in the consumption and marketing patterns of crack cocaine and powder cocaine do not justify stiffer penalties. Ironically, the inequitable sentencing of African-Americans has done little to

Racial Disparity In Sentencing

1914 words - 8 pages with the walls of the system; however, controversially misunderstood. The focus of society continues to be with the negative experiences, stereotypes, and failures of minorities when society will continue the path without change. References Boies, J., Gorton, J. (1999) Sentencing Guidelines and Racial Disparity across Time: Pennsylvania Prison Sentences in 1977, 1983, 1992 and 1993 * 37-54. Retrieved September 25, 2011 from EBSCO Host

Mass Incarceration

3555 words - 15 pages current prison sentences, releasing hundreds of thousands of citizens serving unnecessarily long terms, and altering sentencing laws and guidelines so that racial disparities diminish (and also so that former prisoners have greater access to the nation’s workforce once released). Keywords: crime, criminal justice, incarceration, sentencing, parole, probation, racial disparity Disparities in Incarceration: The Toll of Minimum

Criminal Justice

4145 words - 17 pages . Arraignment 6. Plea Bargain 7. Guilty Plea or Trial * Uncertainty, Risk and Overcrowded jails all play a role in determining bail * Alternative to bail is release on recognizance * Posting bail with either money or property bonds * Bail bond agents help post a defendants bail * 30 states have passed preventative detention laws Sentencing Reform: * Sentencing guidelines- legislatively determined guidelines that judges


1828 words - 8 pages training yearly and sign that they will adhere to the code of conduct. We will hire auditor to check that this is being completed every year and to ensure that it is being practiced. After reviewing the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations, explain how these guidelines influence the ethics program you created. “The United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) established sentencing guidelines for organizations, including

Business Ethics

578 words - 3 pages effect the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations” (FSGO, 1991). This was put into place to engorage companies to develop compliance programs and to police them selves to hold employees accountable for their actions. This law covers many different violations such as bridery, money laudering, tax evasion, and embezzlement just to name a few. Fines can be upwards of $290mmillion or can devastate the organization and force them to close their

The War On Drugs: Drug Sentencing Reform

1496 words - 6 pages crimes seems to be a topic of future debate, action is currently being taken to reduce some nonviolent crimes. According to, “The change would trim the average sentence for drug traffickers by approximately 11 months by lowering the drug sentencing guidelines two levels. Sentencing is based on “levels” depending on the quantity of controlled substance involved in a particular drug offense.” This shows a huge step being taken for a

Inmates in Today's Prisons

858 words - 4 pages Minority Inmates in Today’s Prisons Sherry Atkinson Eng. 122 Instructor: Susan Turner-Conlon November 25, 2013 (1) Our American prisons have an enormous amount of African American inmates. With crime not being racist you have to wonder, is this due to higher rate of minority crimes or the manner in which our judicial system works as far the sentencing of, black men and women. Even though sentencing guidelines were established over a

Court Report Assignment

2712 words - 11 pages up not only the facts but also, in doing this, he needs to ensure that any decision made complies with judicial and legislative guidelines on sentencing and that the proposed sentence is in tune with public interest (Findlay et. al, 2009) 7. Was it easy to understand what was happening in the courtroom? Why/why not? In this particular instance, I found it challenging to understand everything that was occurring in the courtroom on account of

Related Essays

Sentencing Essay

804 words - 4 pages . Sentencing guidelines provide structure at the criminal sentencing stage by defining offense and offender elements that should be considered in each case to determine the correct sentence. There are four justifications for punishment in the United States; the four principal objectives of punishment are traditionally stated as retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation ,and incapacitation. There are many factors that determine what form of punishment

Law Enforcement Paper

325 words - 2 pages do the criteria of each type of prison affect sentencing? There are sentencing guidelines that are followed in court. The guidelines shift the power of sentencing from judges to legislators. To ensure the correct punishment for a crime there is a specific grid that is followed. The grid identifies the right sentence for an individual who committed a specific crime and figures in a criminal history score. Congress also passed

Sentencing Paper

1283 words - 6 pages strikes laws and sentencing guidelines require specific sentences. It is done with little consideration of personal factors as it pertains to offenders, their crimes, and victims, because the state and federal court systems have many similar and different objectives of how punishment is administered. There is a correlation between determinate and indeterminate sentencing in the judicial process when sentencing an offender. Indeterminate and

Truth In Sentencing Essay

531 words - 3 pages -sentencing laws took the power away from the parole board and gave it back to the sentencing judge to release and reduce their sentencing guidelines. This law requires that they serve at least 85% of their time in jail before they can come before a parole board or the judge to ask to be put on parole. This law keeps more criminals in prison and the victims know how long they will be in jail. The Victims are notified when they are eligible to come