A unique punishment: sentencing and the prison population in Scotland

Jacqueline Tombs

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


    Much discussion about sentencing and how the judiciary makes sentencing decisions is ill-informed and tendentious. Rarely does the public get an opportunity to learn how judges actually feel about the sentencing task and how they resolve the conflicting pressures put upon them to balance retribution, mercy and the reduction of future harm. This report provides a rare insight into those dilemmas and illuminates the complexity of the decision-making process. Forty sentencers were interviewed, from both rural and urban areas, and with very differing levels of experience. In particular they were asked to consider the factors that influenced them when considering cases on the borderline between prison and some other outcome. The report adds greatly to our understanding of judicial decision-making and shows how in the absence of countervailing influences prison populations can steadily increase.

    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherScottish Consortium on Crime and Criminal Justice
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


    • sentencing practices
    • prison populations
    • criminology


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