Retributivism has had a great impact on sentencing theory and practice. However, little it is said about the relationship between a sentencing court and the prison estate -- including parole. The presentation explores this relationship.

Traditionally, a sentencing court's duty extinguishes with the imposition of sentence. The court cedes jurisdiction to other authorities to collect the fine; supervise the community penalty; or house and then release the prisoner. The focus here is on the prison. A sentencing court is traditionally blind to the nature of conditions, or the likelihood of release on parole. This static model assumes no interaction between sentencing and post-sentencing occurs; each authority operates its own autonomous regime, jurisdiction, expertise, purposes, and level of discretion. Proportionality is irrelevant to the sentence served in prison. We could go further: parole actively subverts proportionality at sentencing.

A second model assumes some connection between the phases. This model argues that to achieve a proportionate sentence there is a need to revisit sentences of imprisonment over time. In its relatively weak version, this means courts need to develop a better understanding of the effects of imprisonment – for example, with respect to minority prisoners subject to discrimination or abuse and long-term prisoners or others for whom imprisonment may become disproportionate over time. In its stronger form, retributivism may require 'second-look' sentencing to ensure that the sentence remains proportionate. If it fails to do so, the sentence risks drowning out the penal communication or undermining the offender’s agency as a moral, rational and responsible individual.

Webinar - Please contact Mary Bosworth (mary.bosworth@crim.ox.ac.uk) if you’d like to be added to the mail list for the event. Otherwise a recording of  these lectures will be made freely available online at a later  date.

 

Biography

Julian Roberts was a member of the Sentencing Council of England and Wales from 2008-2018.  He is currently Excecutive Director of the Sentencing Academy, a London-based institute which links scholars with practitioners, and promotes greater public understanding of sentencing in England and Wales. Julian has authored or co-authored 8 books, the most recent of which is 'Paying for the Past' (with Richard Frase) published by the Oxford University Press in 2019. He has edited or co-edited 17 scholarly volumes, the most recent of which is Sentencing in Canada (with Justice David Cole) published by Irwin Law in Canada. 

Julian has been a Visiting Professor at a number of universities, including: Faculty of Law, University of Ferrara; Faculty of law, University of Minnesota; Visiting Professor, European Public Law Program, Athens (2015); Global Law School, University of Haifa (2012); Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge (2012); Visiting International Professor, Faculty of Law, Université Libre de Bruxelles (2009-2010);  School of Law, King’s College London (2009-2010; 2005-2006); Faculty of Law, Catholic University of Leuven (2007-2008).

He was co-Director of the Criminal History Project located in the Robina Institute, Faculty of Law, University of Minnesota. This multi-year project conducted research into the use of prior convictions in the US sentencing guidelines. In addition to this project, Julian Roberts has just completed an international research study examining the sentencing of offenders convicted of multiple crimes. This has resulted in a collection of essays published in 2017 by Oxford University Press. The volume is entitled 'More than a Single Crime: Sentencing Offenders Convicted of Multiple Offences'. The book is edited by Julian Roberts, Jesper Ryberg and Jan de Keijser.