Smart on crime


We are in an era of “Smart on Crime” sentencing reform. Several states and the federal government have made major changes to their sentencing policies—from reducing the incarceration of low-level, nonviolent drug offenders to the use of evidence-based sentencing to focus the most severe punishments on those who are at the greatest risk of recidivism. Often, today’s reform efforts are spoken about in terms of being fiscally responsible while still controlling crime. Though such reform efforts do not explicitly acknowledge purposes of punishment—such as retribution, incapacitation, rehabilitation, or deterrence—an undercurrent running through all of these reforms is an effort for sentencing to make sense in light of sentencing goals given the resources available. Therefore, thinking about ultimate purposes or goals in sentencing is necessarily a part of the sentencing reform discourse.

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Criminal Law Commons