voluntary sentencing guidelines | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

Voluntary Sentencing Guidelines are advisory recommendations issued by an independent commission to promote consistency in sentencing and judicial transparency.

Voluntary Sentencing Guidelines are non-binding recommendations developed by an independent commission or agency to provide guidance on the appropriate sentencing range for specific crimes or categories of offenders. These guidelines are intended to promote consistency and transparency in sentencing by establishing a range of penalties based on factors such as the severity of the offense, the offender’s criminal history, and other relevant circumstances.

Judges may consider the guidelines when determining an appropriate sentence, but they are not required to follow them. Instead, judges may deviate from the guidelines if they determine that a departure is appropriate based on the specific circumstances of the case. However, judges must provide a reasoned explanation for any departure from the guidelines, which helps to promote accountability and transparency in the sentencing process.

Voluntary Sentencing Guidelines are used in many jurisdictions, both at the federal and state levels. While they are not binding, they have been shown to be effective in promoting consistency in sentencing and reducing unwarranted disparities in punishment. Additionally, they can help to reduce the potential for bias and ensure that sentencing decisions are based on the facts of the case and the relevant legal principles rather than on individual biases or prejudices.

Learn More

On This Site

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 03/14/2023


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.