The exercise of discretion in the criminal justice system and related agencies often plays a key part in decisions which are made, but definitions of discretion are not clear, and despite widespread recognition of its importance there is much controversy on its nature and legitimacy.
This book seeks to explore the importance of discretion to an understanding of the nature of the 'making of justice' in theory and practice, taking as its starting point the wide discretionary powers wielded by many of the key players in the criminal justice and related systems. It focuses on the core elements and contexts of discretion, looking at the power, ability, authority and duties of individuals, officials and organisations to decide, select or interpret vague standards, requirements or statutory uncertainties.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2.Youth justice: discretion in pre-court decision-making 3. Judicial discretion in sentencing 4. Prison officers and the use of discretion 5. Discretion and the release of life sentence prisoners 6. Discretion in access to forensic psychiatric units 7. Discretion and the release of mentally disordered offenders 8. Decisions to detain asylum seekers - routine, duty or individual choice? 9. Order, rationality and silence: some reflections on criminal justice decision-making
Loraine Gelsthorpeis a University Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Criminology, and a Fellow of Pembroke College, University of Cambridge.
Nicola Padfield is Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Cambridge, and has published widely on criminal law, sentencing and criminal justice. She sits as a Recorder in the Crown Court, and has been editor of Archbold News since 1996.