Sentencing Commissions and Guidelines: A Case Study in Policy Transfer

Criminal Law Forum 2022

43 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2022

See all articles by Arie Freiberg

Arie Freiberg

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Julian V. Roberts

University of Oxford - Centre for Criminology

Date Written: September 29, 2022

Abstract

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

Freiberg, Arie and Roberts, Julian V., Sentencing Commissions and Guidelines: A Case Study in Policy Transfer (September 29, 2022). Criminal Law Forum 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4265150

Arie Freiberg (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Julian V. Roberts

University of Oxford - Centre for Criminology ( email )

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

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