Sentencing and Sanctions in Western Countries

By Michael Tonry; Richard S. Frase | Go to book overview
Save to active project

International Controls on
Sentencing and Punishment

International human rights law as yet impinges on domestic sentencing policy to a very limited extent. Following a brief outline of the international human rights law framework, this chapter explores three lines of limited influence, actual or potential. First is the degree to which international human rights mechanisms provide models for sentencing policy and do, or might, take responsibility for sentencing in certain situations overlapping with domestic responsibilities. I consider the International War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the shortly-to-be-established International Criminal Court. The second line of inquiry is the degree to which international human rights law serves directly to limit the range and application of penalties domestically. Here I focus on efforts to restrain the use of capital punishment. Third is the degree to which international human rights law indirectly constrains the domestic use made of certain sentences, principally incarceration, by setting standards to be met in the execution of sentences. Here I concentrate on the working of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

This chapter moves from the general to the particular. It begins with a brief survey of the international mechanisms that might conceivably exercise influence on sentencing policy and thereafter considers those mechanisms in relation to each of the above possible lines of influence. At the close I consider, using domestic case studies, how international standards regarding what has in most states become the most widely used criminal sanction—imprisonment—are, within the Council of Europe, being brought to bear on local practice.

The overall tone of this chapter might appear to be one of skepticism and pessimism. Although international human rights law appears to exercise little influence on sentencing policy with regard to the type of penalties imposed or the severity of their application, the relevant international mechanisms are mostly in their infancies. It seems likely that peace-keeping and conflict control efforts, the processes of globalization, in particular the increased mobility of people for the


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Sentencing and Sanctions in Western Countries


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 440

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?