Penal Populism, Sentencing Councils and Sentencing Policy: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Penal Populism, Sentencing Councils and Sentencing Policy

1st Edition

Edited by Arie Freiberg, Karen Gelb


256 pages

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Public outcries and political platforms based on misinformation and misconceptions about the criminal justice system and current sentencing practice occur all too often in democratic societies. Penal Populism, Sentencing Councils and Sentencing Policy attempts to address this problem by bringing together important contributions from a number of distinguished experts in the field.

Penal Populism presents theoretical perspectives on the role of the public in the development of sentencing policy. It places particular emphasis on the emerging role of sentencing commissions, advisory councils or panels in a number of English speaking countries: Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, Scotland and South Africa.

The book explains, expands and develops the existing literature that looks at public attitudes to justice and the role that the 'public' can play in influencing policy. Written in a scholarly yet accessible style, Penal Populism asks the critical questions: should 'public opinion', or preferably, 'public judgment' be relevant to court decision-making, to institutional decision-making and to the political process? And if so, how?

Table of Contents

1. Penal populism: sentencing councils and sentencing policy, Arie Freiberg and Karen Gelb 2. Sentencing policy and practice: the evolving role of public opinion, Julian V. Roberts 3. Penal populism and penal scandal in New Zealand, John Pratt 4. Dealing the public in: challenges for a transparent and accountable sentencing policy, David Indermaur 5. Myths and misconceptions: public opinion versus public judgment about sentencing, Karen Gelb 6. The role of the public in sentencing policy development under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines, Richard S. Frase 7. The failures of the United States Sentencing Commission, Judge Nancy Gertner 8. English sentencing guidelines in their public and political context, Andrew Ashworth 9. The New South Wales Sentencing Council, The Hon Alan Abadee AM RFD QC 10. The Sentencing Commission for Scotland, Neil Hutton 11. The Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council: incorporating community views into the sentencing process, Arie Freiberg 12. A perspective on the work of the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council and its potential to promote respect and equality for women, Therese McCarthy 13. Sentencing reform in New Zealand: a proposal to establish a sentencing council, Warren Young 14. Proposals for a sentencing council in South Africa, Stephan Terblanche 15. A federal sentencing council for Australia, Australian Law Reform Commission 16. Institutional mechanisms for incorporating the public in the development of sentencing policy, Neil Hutton 17. Does it matter? Reflections on the effectiveness of institutionalised public participation in the development of sentencing policy, Rob Allen and Mike Hough

About the Editors

Arie Freiberg is Chair of the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council and is the current Dean of Law at Monash University, following ten years as the Foundation Chair of Criminology at the University of Melbourne.

Karen Gelb obtained her doctorate in Criminology from New York University and is currently the Senior Criminologist for the Sentencing Advisory Council in Victoria, Australia. She spent five years at the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics, part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology