So British judges hold higher the idea that we are all individuals and justice is an individual thing than we do?"Plans for an American-style sentencing “grid” to control prison numbers appear doomed because of overwhelming opposition from the judiciary.
Judges at all levels, as well as the Magistrates' Association, have dealt a devastating blow to the scheme which would have required them to deliver set punishments for specific crimes.
The Magistrates' Association says that restriction of that discretion would be a retrograde step: “People are individuals. We would regret any change which moved us towards a formulaic or mechanistic approach to sentencing.”"
The Council of Circuit Judges says: “The American dream would result in a nightmare in England and Wales.” It adds that it would be impossible to devise an American-style sentencing grid that would not be a “blunt instrument resulting in unfairness and injustice”.
The magistrates suggest that some of the proposals “could be seen as an attempt to engineer a reduction in the prison population, rather than to deliver just sentences that fit individual crimes”.
They said: “Consistency of approach to sentencing is needed, not uniformity of sentence.” Consistency is already promoted through the existing sentencing guidelines, they say.
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