A Sentencing Advisory Council (Victoria, Australia) report on mandatory sentencing is a few years old now but still important given ongoing reliance on such laws in many jurisdictions.

The paper examines the aims of mandatory sentencing and assesses whether the various schemes achieve those aims.  It also looks at the economic and social costs of mandatory sentencing.

It concludes that mandatory sentencing schemes are unlikely to achieve their aims and to the extent that such schemes achieve some of their aims, the research indicates that they are achieved at a high economic and social cost.

If you were to examine mandatory sentencing laws using Wexler’s wine and bottle methodology, you would probably conclude that such laws create a TJ unfriendly “bottle” as the inflexible nature of such laws do not allow for a lot of TJ “wine” to be poured in.  An example of TJ wine in sentencing is the judicial practice of adjourning sentencing and providing a reduced sentence if a person engages in drug addiction treatment.  It is not possible to pour this TJ wine into the manadotory sentencing bottle so the bottle itself needs reform.

Can you think of other criminal laws (or bottles) in your jurisdiction that are designed in such a way as to be TJ unfriendly or anti-therapeutic?

Read the full report here.

One thought on “Mandatory sentencing – a TJ unfriendly bottle?

  1. This is not the first time Australia has adopted a “tough on crime” policy just as the U.S. Is concluding such policies are ineffective and come with too high a cost. Support for elimination of mandatory minimum sentencing, decriminalization of some drugs, elimination of incarceration for non-violent crimes and an emphasis on rehabilitation rather than retribution has the support of both the right and the left. In preparation for the 2016 elections, the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) is training candidates how to talk about criminal justice reform. Legislators in Indiana are using an evangelical philosophy to support legalization of marijuana. And Texas, the state most in love with the death penalty, has adopted a Right on Crime approach to reform. The TJ bottles are spinning.



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