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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Physical Activity for Health Group based within the School of Psychological Sciences & Health. Research here seeks to better understand how and why physical activity improves health, gain a better understanding of the amount, intensity, and type of physical activity needed for health benefits, and evaluate the effect of interventions to promote physical activity.

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Assisting and advising the sentencing decision process : the pursuit of 'quality' in pre-sentence reports

Tata, C. and Burns, N. and Halliday, S. and Hutton, N. and McNeill, F. (2008) Assisting and advising the sentencing decision process : the pursuit of 'quality' in pre-sentence reports. British Journal of Criminology, 48 (6). pp. 835-855. ISSN 0007-0955

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Abstract

Pre-sentence reports are an increasingly prevalent feature of the sentencing process. Yet, although judges have been surveyed about their general views, we know relatively little about how such reports are read and interpreted by judges considering sentence in specific cases, and, in particular, how these judicial interpretations compare with the intentions of the writers of those same reports. This article summarizes some of the main findings of a four-year qualitative study in Scotland examining: how reports are constructed by report writers; what the writers aim to convey to the sentencing judge; and how those same reports are then interpreted and used in deciding sentence. Policy development has been predicated on the view that higher-quality reports will help to 'sell' community penalties to the principal consumers of such reports (judges). This research suggests that, in the daily use and interpretation of reports, this quality-led policy agenda is defeated by a discourse of judicial 'ownership' of sentencing.