Sentencing Fragments: Penal Reform in America, 1975-2025

Sentencing Fragments: Penal Reform in America, 1975-2025

by Michael Tonry

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Almost everyone agrees—Right on Crime, the ACLU, Koch Industries, George Soros's Open Society Foundation, the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal—that America's current systems for sentencing criminal offenders are a shambles, with crazy quilts of incompatible and conflicting laws, policies, and practices in every state and the federal system. Most everyone agrees that punishments are too severe, and too many people are in prison. However, the kinds of major changes required to undo mass incarceration and rebuild American sentencing are simply not happening. Despite well-intentioned rhetoric and media coverage, there has been very little meaningful change.

In Sentencing Fragments, Michael Tonry explains what needs to be done to rebuild just systems of sentencing and punishment, and how to do it. This book tells the story of sentencing policy changes since 1975, examines research findings concerning their effects, and explains what does and does not work. Beyond calling attention to the devastating effects on the lives of the poor and disadvantaged and the latest empirical evidence, Tonry identifies the common moral theories behind criminal sentencing—as well as their larger assumptions about human nature—and discusses the ways in which different theories have bred very different sentencing policies. Sentencing Fragments concludes with a set of proposals for creating better policies and practices for the future, calling for American legislators and politicians to remake sentencing into the humane and just process that it always should have been.

In lucid and engaging prose, Michael Tonry reveals the historical foundation for the current state of the American criminal justice system, while simultaneously offering a game plan for long overdue reform.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190204686
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 01/04/2016
Series: Studies in Crime and Public Policy Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Michael Tonry is the McKnight Presidential Professor of Criminal Law and Policy at the University of Minnesota, and a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute on Comparative and International Criminal Law in Freiburg, Germany. Previously he was director of the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University. He is a visiting professor of law and criminology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and a senior fellow in the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, Free University Amsterdam. Tonry is the author or editor of numerous books on criminal justice, race and crime, and sentencing, including Thinking about Crime and Punishing Race.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Sentencing Matters
Chapter 2. Sentencing Fragments
Chapter 3. Federal Sentencing
Chapter 4. Sentencing Theories
Chapter 5. Sentencing Principles
Chapter 6. Reinventing Sentencing

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