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CICAD: Institutional Strengthening

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CICAD: Institutional Strengthening

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CICAD: Institutional Strengthening

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CICAD: Institutional Strengthening

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CICAD: Institutional Strengthening

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CICAD: Institutional Strengthening

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CICAD: Institutional Strengthening

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CICAD: Institutional Strengthening

Proportionality of Sentences

 

Proportionality of Sentences

The legal principle of proportionality in sentencing means that the punishment for a particular crime should reflect the degree of harm caused to society. This principle necessitates the creation of categories of offenses, of substances, and of offenders, and the assignment of a range of sentencing options applicable to each category. Some Member States are recognizing that their sentencing structures and policing practices do not sufficiently differentiate between such different types of offenses as use, minor supply, and major trafficking, and that reliance on incarceration for most offenses is problematic. Depriving an individual of liberty, especially for an extended period of time, imposes great costs on the individual, their families and communities, and society in general.  By enhancing proportionality in criminal sentencing, Member States can ensure that these costs are only assumed when absolutely necessary.  Resources saved by not incarcerating the large number of comparatively minor offenders, but imposing other punishments if appropriate, can in turn be re-invested in investigation and prosecution of the higher levels of organized crime, strengthening citizen security.

Threshold levels can play a key role in the definition of categories of offenses and sanctions, as long as they are set at realistic levels. Levels may be defined with higher or lower degrees of precision (number of grams, or simply “small quantity”); whatever levels are chosen, the actors in the justice system should be flexible, addressing each case individually and remembering the intention behind the levels set.


updated on 11/5/2015 10:52:31 AM