Ranking offence seriousness in reviewing statutory maximum penalties

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Some ranking of the relative seriousness of criminal conduct for the purpose of allocating statutory penalties is needed. A number of different approaches are possible. This article examines those based on assessments of harm and culpability; analysis of current judicial sentencing practices; and public opinion research. It discusses problems inherent in each of these approaches. A combination of techniques is applied to some 500 Victorian offences, both serious and trivial, in order to produce a revised ranking of statutory offences for the purpose of rationalising their accompanying sanctions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-191
Number of pages27
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1990

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