Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

Blog: News and Views from Robina

Robina Institute Blog

This blog provides timely updates and commentary on issues in sentencing law, criminal justice policy and practice, and other related issues in the field of criminal justice.

  • Kelly Lyn Mitchell
    It’s Time to Rethink Probation Lengths in Minnesota
    The 2017 legislative session is just getting started.  As we headed into the session this time last year, the Minnesota Department of Corrections was forecasting that the prison population would continue to exceed capacity and that an expansion to the Rush City...
  • Richard Frase
    Criminal History Sentencing Enhancements Imprison Too Many Aging, Low-Risk Offenders
    Sentence enhancements based on the offender’s prior convictions (or “criminal history”) are found in virtually all modern sentencing systems (Roberts 2008). The Robina Institute’s Criminal History Enhancements Project examines this aspect of sentencing law and practice...
  • Rhys Hester
    Sentencing as a Human Process
    Over the decades, sentencing guidelines have been both celebrated and castigated. Those who praise them point out that guidelines have been successful: they’ve reduced racial disparities, increased uniformity, and assisted some jurisdictions in effectively managing...
  • Murray
    Law School Student Representation of Clemency Applicants
    On October 27, 2016, President Obama granted 98 prisoner commutations, bringing to 872 the number of federal inmates who have benefited from his expansive use of presidential pardon power.  Among his last round of commutations, on October 6, 2016, was 37-year-old Maria...
  • Alexis Watts
    Defining Victims in the Context of Parole Release
    Over the past decades, the role of the victim in criminal cases has grown significantly in most jurisdictions.1  More than thirty states now have a constitutional crime victims’ “bill of rights” that confer various participatory rights and sometimes a broader right to...
  • Richard S. Frase
    How Sentencing Guidelines and Other Reforms Can Reduce Unfair Penalties Imposed on Offenders Found Guilty At Trial
    One of the major criticisms of American plea bargaining is that it punishes offenders for exercising their constitutional right to demand proof of guilt at trial.  The Supreme Court has suggested that if this occurred it would be unconstitutional, stating that “[t]o...