Censure and Sanctions

Censure and Sanctions

Censure and Sanctions

Censure and Sanctions

Synopsis

Andrew von Hirsch addresses a number of emerging conceptual questions concerning the proportionality of criminal sentences, an approach that is gaining influence worldwide including in England where the Criminal Justice Act of 1991 made proportionality the primary criterion for determining sentences. This study deals with how the idea of penal censure justifies proportionate sentences, how a penalty scale should be "anchored" in order to reduce overall punishment levels, how non-custodial penalties should be graded and used, and how political pressures impinge on sentencing policies. It offers a coherent and humane way of allocating punishments, appropriate for a society that treats convicted offenders as citizens whose rights and choices should continue to be respected.

Excerpt

Works on theories of punishment are legion. This one breaks new ground by tackling, from a principled point of view, a number of contemporary issues in penal policy. the basis for the arguments is provided by the re-statement of the foundations of desert theory in the second chapter, and subsequent chapters draw upon other penological and philosophical perspectives in grappling with issues such as the overall level of punitiveness, the use of community sanctions, the intrusiveness of penal measures, and so forth. the author also brings to these topics his wide understanding of sentencing issues in Europe and North America, as is particularly evident in Chapter 10. At a time when discussion of the sentencing of offenders so often becomes smothered in political rhetoric, it is all the more important to make advances on the front of principle. I am delighted that Andrew von Hirsch has written a book which does just that.

Andrew Ashworth . . .

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