Sentencing Guidelines were established nine years ago with the laudable aim of a reduction in sentence variation and thereby improving consistency in all criminal courts across the country. It was hoped that eg a hypothetical headline of sentences to be light in Leicestershire but heavy in Herefordshire would be unavailable for the Daily Mail and other media. Only last week a crown court judge`s sentencing remarks created exactly the furore that the guidelines were meant to avoid. The Norwich Evening News today has published information on sentencing statistics at Ipswich Crown Court. It appears that this court is amongst the most severe in sentencing for burglary. Perhaps in a rural area there is less tolerance to this activity than in the big cities. Whatever the reason it is an indication that the tick box mentality of sentencing is not the be all and end all its supporters would like it to be.
An analysis of crown court sentencing patterns is available here. One cannot fail to note that it treats every sentence analysed as if from a great big national crown court; there is no breakdown of individual crown court sentencing patterns although they will probably be available somewhere for those interested in delving further.