Sentence Reductions for a Guilty Plea in England and Wales: Exploring New Empirical Trends

24 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2015

See all articles by Julian V. Roberts

Julian V. Roberts

University of Oxford - Centre for Criminology

Ben Bradford

University College London - Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science

Date Written: June 2015

Abstract

Although most jurisdictions award sentence discounts to defendants who plead guilty, the exact magnitude of reductions awarded, and the factors determining the levels of reduction, remain underresearched. In addition, the limited research conducted to date in England and Wales has drawn on data sources that prevent the researcher from excluding the effect of factors correlated with the plea. This article reports original findings from a new sentencing database that draws its data directly from the sentencing judge. This jurisdiction is interesting also because courts must follow a sentencing guideline that contains specific recommendations regarding the appropriate discount. Analyses reveal that the plea‚Äźbased discounts are more modest than reported by previous researchers. In addition, the data reveal a significant degree of judicial compliance with the guideline, although some departures from the guideline are identified and discussed.

Suggested Citation

Roberts, Julian V. and Bradford, Ben, Sentence Reductions for a Guilty Plea in England and Wales: Exploring New Empirical Trends (June 2015). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 12, Issue 2, pp. 187-210, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2600720 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12069

Julian V. Roberts (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Centre for Criminology ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

Ben Bradford

University College London - Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science ( email )

35 Tavistock Square
London, WC1H 9EZ
United Kingdom

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