Sentencing as a Human Process
Sentencing is not a neutral or mechanical act; it is a human process, highly charged affectively and motivationally. Sentencing decisions take place in a social environment of laws, facts, ideas, and people. This study of sentencing behaviour is primarily concerned with the mental processes involved in decision-making. It is based on intensive interviews and on measures of the information-processing ability of seventy-one full-time judges in Ontario.
The work covers such topics as: problems of sentencing (particularly existing disparities); social and economic background of judges and their varying penal philosophies; the nature and measurement of judicial attitudes toward crime; punishment and related issues; prediction of sentencing behaviour based on attitude scales (which the author has constructed) and also on 'fact patterns perceived by judges'; and the impact of social and legal constraints on the sentencing process.
The study concludes that there exists a very high correlation between a judges definition of situation and the sentence which he imposes and that while sentences meted out for a particular law violation under similar circumstances may differ among judges, judges are 'highly consistent within themselves.'
Using these conclusions the author constructs a model of judicial behaviour and shows how this model can be used to predict and to explain sentencing and breaks new ground in the use of the social and behavioural sciences as sources of data to explain the sentencing process.
- Series: Heritage
- World Rights
- Page Count: 448 pages
- Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.1in x 9.1in
'Where Hogarth's study is truly brilliant and constitutes a remarkable breakthrough in the study of the judiciary is in the incisive and systematic way in which he probes the magistrates' minds to reveal the different mental routes whereby they arrive at these varying results. [It] reveals the human quality of judging at the most mundane level. [This volume] marks an important new stage in the empirical study of the judiciary process.'
'There are pages of graphs and tables but it is worth ploughing through all these. Why? Because Hogarth shows that good interdisciplinary research is possible. Because we need responsible criminological research and this book provides a good starting point. Because the book will make the reader think of the power we put in the hands of our magistrates.'
Author InformationJohn Hogarth is a professor emeritus of law at Simon Fraser University.
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