Sentencing Commissions and Guidelines: A Case Study in Policy Transfer
Criminal Law Forum 2022
43 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2022
Date Written: September 29, 2022
Over the past few decades, the traditional, discretionary approach to sentencing has been progressively replaced by structured regimes often administered by sentencing commissions or councils. Sentencing guidelines of one kind or another have proliferated across the common law world and constitute the most significant development in sentencing in a century. This article examines the creation and subsequent proliferation of sentencing commissions since the establishment of the first commissions in Minnesota and Pennsylvania in 1978.
The article explores the process by which the idea of a sentencing commission and its guidelines has spread to other jurisdictions. This process, referred to as policy transfer, diffusion, transplantation, convergence, translation or policy learning, modelling or borrowing, can provide insight into why a policy innovation in one jurisdiction is emulated or adapted in another, and the means by which such innovations are communicated over time and between jurisdictions.
Keywords: Sentencing commissions, policy transfer, sentencing
JEL Classification: K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation