Comparing Key Elements of Guidelines Systems

Outline of the United States

Though there are multiple jurisdictions with sentencing guidelines, each exists on what we refer to as the advisory to mandatory continuum, referring to the degree to which the guidelines are enforced within each jurisdiction and, therefore, whether sentences actually reflect the policies in the sentencing guidelines. On this page, we have highlighted some of the key elements that define guidelines systems. The comparisons for each key element provide answers to key policy questions about how guidelines should be structured, the role of sentencing commissions, and ways that various systems enforce their guidelines.