Just Punishments: Federal Guidelines and Public Views Compared

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1997-06-01
  • Publisher: Aldine De Gruyter
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The sentencing guidelines written by the U.S. Sentencing Commission for the federal criminal courts were designed to lead to uniform and just punishments for convicted criminals. How well did the Commission's judgments about what were just punishments compare to the view of the American public? Using data from a 1994 national household survey, the authors compare the punishments prescribed by the Commission to those desired by the public.
Contrary to the frequent claims to excessive leniency on the part of judges that are often asserted by journalists and shapers of opinions, Rossi and Berk find strong correspondence between the median sentences deemed appropriate by the public and the sentences prescribed by the guidelines.
The national survey used a factorial survey as its design strategy, allowing for analysis of a large variety of federal crimes and variations in the social characteristics of convicted felons. A wealth of detail, along with ample graphic and tabular illustrations, extends the book's application to issues of consensus and variations in punitiveness by region and socioeconomic characteristics of respondents.

Author Biography

Peter H. Rossi is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Introduction
Social Norms and Sentencing Felonsp. 1
Writing the Federal Sentencing Guidelinesp. 19
Design and Data Analysisp. 33
Sentencing Patterns for Federal Crimesp. 49
Guidelines and Sample Sentences Comparedp. 73
Sentence Enhancements: Guidelines and Respondents Comparedp. 103
Respondence Concordance with the Guidelinesp. 153
Social and Individual Factors in Sentencing Servityp. 167
Summing Upp. 207
Dimensions and Levelsp. 211
Questionnaire Used in Studyp. 227
"Standard" Vignettes Used in Studyp. 235
Referencesp. 237
Indexp. 239
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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