Measuring risk and blameworthiness in the sentencing of criminal defendants : an exploratory study in Western Australia's Higher Courts

Bond, Christine & Jeffries, Samantha (2011) Measuring risk and blameworthiness in the sentencing of criminal defendants : an exploratory study in Western Australia's Higher Courts. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 23(1), pp. 17-36.

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The focal concern perspective dominates quantitative explorations of judicial sentencing. A critical argument underlying this perspective is the role of judicial assessments of risk and blameworthiness. Prior research has not generally explored how these two concepts fit together. This study provides an empirical test of the focal concerns perspective by examining the latent structure among the measures traditionally used in sentencing research, and investigates the extent to which focal concerns can be applied in a non-US jurisdiction. Using factor analysis (as suggested by prior research), we find evidence of distinct factors of risk and blameworthiness, with separate and independent effects on sentencing outcomes. We also identify the need for further development of the focal concerns perspective, especially around the role of perceptual shorthand.

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ID Code: 43824
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Sentencing, Risk, Blameworthiness, Focal Concerns
ISSN: 1034-5329
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Criminology not elsewhere classified (160299)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Sydney Law School, University of Sydney
Deposited On: 07 Aug 2011 23:58
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2011 09:19

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