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Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

37. Sentencing  

Andrew Ashworth and Julian V. Roberts

Sentencing represents the apex of the criminal process and is the most public stage of the criminal justice system. Controversial sentences attract widespread media coverage, intense public interest, and much public and political criticism. This chapter explores sentencing in the United Kingdom, and draws some conclusions with relevance to other common law jurisdictions. Sentencing has changed greatly in recent years, notably through the introduction of sentencing guidelines in England and Wales, and more recently, Scotland. However, there are still doubts about the fairness and consistency of sentencing practice, not least in the use of imprisonment. Among the key issues to be examined in this chapter are the tendency towards net-widening, the effects of race and gender, the impact of pleading guilty, the use of indeterminate sentences, the rise of mandatory sentences, and the role of the victim in the sentencing process. The chapter begins by outlining the methods by which cases come before the courts for sentencing. It then summarizes the specific sentences available to courts and examines current sentencing patterns, before turning to a more detailed exploration of sentencing guidelines, and of the key issues identified above. The chapter addresses two critical questions: What is sentencing (namely who exerts the power to punish)? Does sentencing in the UK measure up to appropriate standards of fairness and consistency?

Chapter

Cover Sentencing and Punishment

2. Structuring sentencing  

A sentencing system in which there were no controls on how the judge or magistrate came to a decision on sentence would not be a principled system. It could also lead to injustice in individual cases. This chapter examines the ways in which sentencing discretion is constrained, not only through law and guidance but also through the use of a justificatory principle as a constraint. In particular it reviews the way that more recent forms of sentencing guidance have developed, notably the definitive guidelines produced by the Sentencing Council. It also discusses in detail the importance of a retributivist rationale with reference to classical and modern retributivism.

Chapter

Cover Sanders & Young's Criminal Justice

2. Stop and search  

Alpa Parmar

This chapter examines the powers of the police to stop and search people in the context of an initial discussion of police culture and discretion in general. The development of greater powers over the last 35 years since the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) was introduced is charted. The chapter considers whether stop and search is racially discriminatory; the constraints and controls on the exercise of discretion; and the impact of stop-search powers. It argues that the working assumptions based on ‘suspiciousness’—i.e. hunch, incongruity, and stereotyping on the basis of types of people, previous records, and so forth—still play as important a part in influencing the exercise of discretion as do legal constraints. This is all true even when responding to citizen reports of suspected offences.

Chapter

Cover Sentencing and Punishment

2. Structuring sentencing  

This chapter examines the ways in which sentencing discretion is limited: a sentencing system in which there were no controls on how the judge or magistrate came to a decision on sentence would not be a principled system and could lead to injustice in individual cases. This chapter, therefore, examines the ways in which sentencing discretion is constrained, not only through law and guidance but also through the use of a justificatory principle as a constraint. In particular, it reviews the development of new forms of sentencing guidance, notably the definitive guidelines produced by the Sentencing Council, and discusses in detail the importance of a retributivist rationale. It explains classical retributivism, with a focus on Kant and Hegel, as well as modern retributivism.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

29. Policing and the police  

Trevor Jones, Tim Newburn, and Robert Reiner

In this chapter we review some of the key themes in scholarly work on policing, one of the major sub-fields within criminology. The focus is primarily upon the United Kingdom though many of the themes are familiar across all western democracies. We begin by considering what is meant by ‘policing’, before outlining the emergence of this field of academic research. The chapter then examines the development of modern policing, and the challenges of establishing and maintaining police legitimacy. This leads into a discussion of a series of key themes in policing research, including the operation and control of police discretion, occupational cultures, matters relating to diversity and discrimination, and the politics and governance of the police. The next section outlines distinctive policing ‘models’ that have emerged in recent times. The policing landscape is increasingly complex and the chapter concludes by considering two of the most significant developments: pluralization and transnationalization.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

34. Policing and the police  

Trevor Jones, Tim Newburn, and Robert Reiner

This chapter reviews some of the key themes in academic research and writing on the police and policing. It begins by discussing definitions of ‘policing’ and ‘police’, before outlining the development of academic research on policing in the USA and UK. The nature of police discretion is then discussed along with the factors that shape police decision-making and the implications of these for the accountability of policing agents and organizations. The next section reviews contrasting models of policing that have emerged over recent years, including community policing, problem-oriented policing, ‘zero tolerance’ policing and intelligence-led policing. Subsequently, two overarching developments within contemporary policing—pluralization (with a particular focus on private security) and internationalization—are explored. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the future of police and policing. The primary focus is upon policing in Britain, though many of the themes are similar across liberal democratic societies.