Picture of UK Houses of Parliament

Leading national thinking on politics, government & public policy through Open Access research

Strathprints makes available scholarly Open Access content by researchers in the School of Government & Public Policy, based within the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Research here is 1st in Scotland for research intensity and spans a wide range of domains. The Department of Politics demonstrates expertise in understanding parties, elections and public opinion, with additional emphases on political economy, institutions and international relations. This international angle is reflected in the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC) which conducts comparative research on public policy. Meanwhile, the Centre for Energy Policy provides independent expertise on energy, working across multidisciplinary groups to shape policy for a low carbon economy.

Explore the Open Access research of the School of Government & Public Policy. Or explore all of Strathclyde's Open Access research...

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

Tata, Cyrus and Burns, Nicola and Halliday, Simon and Hutton, Neil and McNeill, Fergus (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

[img]
Preview
Text (Cata-etal-BJC-2008-Assisting-and-advising-the-sentencing-decision-process)
Cata_etal_BJC_2008_Assisting_and_advising_the_sentencing_decision_process.pdf
Final Published Version
License: All rights reserved

Download (140kB)| Preview

    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.