Publications

Just Sentencing: Principles and Procedures for a Workable System

By Richard Frase
Oxford University Press: December 1, 2012
 

What are the most important purposes of punishment, in general and in particular cases? What makes just sentencing? These eternal questions are very difficult to answer because traditional as well as emerging sentencing purposes often conflict. Retributive and nonretributive institutions and intuitions of justice are both deeply-rooted and each equally hard to ignore. There is no generally accepted or well-elaborated theory to guide and evaluate recent or proposed sentencing changes, and most of the major books on sentencing theory are outdated. There is a compelling need for a new sentencing model.

In Just Sentencing, Richard Frase describes and defends a hybrid sentencing model that integrates theory and practice — blending and balancing both the competing principles of retribution and rehabilitation and the procedural concern of weighing rules against discretion. Frase lays out a sentencing reform model based on the theory of limiting retributivism. The theory accommodates retributive values — especially the human-rights-based need to limit maximum sanction severity — along with crime-control goals such as deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and moral education. It also promotes efficiency and provides sufficient flexibility to incorporate victim and community participation, local values and resource limitations, and restorative justice programs. Frase presents his significantly expanded version of the limiting retributive model and distinguishes it from versions proposed by others. Next, he demonstrates the practical feasibility and widespread support for this approach by showing how it has been successfully implemented in Minnesota, while also identifying the less developed limiting retributive elements found in almost all Western countries. The final part of the book identifies and attempts to resolve the model’s most important theoretical and practical challenges, and suggest further improvements.

Just Sentencing is the first book in more than 40 years to present a fully developed punishment theory that incorporates both utilitarian and retributive sentencing purposes.


Just Sentencing: Principles and Procedures for a Workable System can be purchased here