Non-Fiction Books:

How Do Judges Decide?

The Search for Fairness and Justice in Punishment



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How Do Judges Decide?: The Search for Fairness and Justice in Punishment by Dr. Cassia C. Spohn
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The appropriate amount of punishment for a given crime is an issue that has been debated by scholars, philosophers and legal professionals since the beginning of civilizations. This book seeks to address this issue in all of its complexity by providing a comprehensive overview of the sentencing process in the United States. The book begins by discussing the overall concept of punishment and then proceeds to dissect individual aspects of punishment. Topics include: the sentencing process; responsibility of the judge; disparity and discrimination in sentencing; and sentencing reform. This book is an ideal text for introductory courses on the judicial system, criminal law, law and society. It will be an essential resource to help students understand patterns in the wide discretion and latitude given to judges when determining punishments within the framework of the United States judicial system.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Preface 1. The Goals of Sentencing Why Punish? How Much to Punish? Theories of Punishment and Judges' Sentencing Decisions Conclusion 2. Sentencing Options and the Sentencing Process The Judge's Options at Sentencing Sentencing as a Collaborative Exercise The Sentencing Process 3. How do Judges Decide Modeling the Sentencing Process How Do Judges Decide? 4. Sentencing Disparity and Discrimination Disparity and Discrimination Gender and Sentencing Focus on an Issue: Should Men and Women Be Treated the Same Disparity and Discrimination in Sentencing 5. Sentencing Disparity and Discrimination: Racial Disparity in Sentencing Race and Imprisonment: Evidence of Disproportionality Race and Judges' Sentencing Decisions Focus on an Issue: Race and Sentencing for Drug Offenses: Punishment and Prejudice? Race and the Death Penalty: A Failed Experiment? Justice From the Bench? 6. Thirty Years of Sentencing Reform The Sentencing Reform Movement Structured Sentencing Reforms Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Statutes Focus on an Issue: Sentencing Drug Offenders: Incarceration or Treatment--What Works? Three-Strikes-and-You're-Out Laws Truth-In-Sentencing Laws Three Decades of Reform 7. The Impact of the Sentencing Reform Movement Have Sentencing Reforms Led to More Punitive Sentences? Have Sentencing Reforms Led to a Reduction in Crime? Have Sentencing Reforms Reduced Disparity and Discrimination? Assessing the Impact of the Sentencing Reform Movement References Index About the Author

Author Biography

Cassia Spohn is a Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University, where she also serves as the Director of Graduate Programs. Prior to joining the ASU faculty in 2006, she was a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is the co-author of three books: The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America: Courts: A Text/Reader and Rape Law Reform: A Grassroots Movement and Its Impact. Dr. Spohn has published extensively on prosecutors' charging decisions in sexual assault cases, the effect of race/ethnicity and gender on sentencing decisions, sentencing of drug offenders, and the deterrent effect of imprisonment.
Release date NZ
November 6th, 2002
Country of Publication
United States
Pine Forge
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