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Epilogue: Shaping the Future of Sentencing

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This special issue of the The Criminal Law Review, focused on sentencing issues, is both welcome and timely. As Harris and Roberts point out, the subject has long been the poor relation of criminal law scholarship. Yet the punishments imposed by the courts lie at the very heart of criminal justice. Saunders and Calvert Smith suggest sentencing is “one of, if not the most, difficult tasks of a criminal judge” (at p.xx). The most difficult and, perhaps, the most important. It is a public statement of denunciation, a display of state power, an exercise in communication unlike any other. It is also a central component of the state’s (integrated?) strategy to deliver a safer and more decent society. David Thomas helped generations of judges, academics and lawyers to understand the intricacies of the subject, and his wit and wisdom are sorely missed. Frequently critical of hasty legislation, he would be writing many caustic words if he were with us today. I have tried to consider what he would have written in this epilogue.



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Criminal Law Review

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Sweet & Maxwell Ltd

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