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Report details an expansion of criminal punishments over the past decade

Also on the program: How changing statutes are applied at sentencing


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Airdate: Monday, June 21, 2021

Before our collective attention was highjacked by the coronavirus, legislators around the state and country were focused on criminal justice reform.

There was a great deal of energy behind the momentum, which seems to have taken a back seat to other pressing issues.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a report this month that focuses attention back on the issue with data that suggests Pennsylvania state legislators continue to pass bills that expand the commonwealth’s criminal justice system with an over reliance on punishment.  In 2010, the criminal code contained 636 offenses and today that number has more than doubled.

Joining Smart Talk Monday to share details of the More Law, Less Justice report is Elizabeth Randol, Legislative Director, ACLU of Pennsylvania.

How changing statutes are applied at sentencing

The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing review and revise sentencing guidelines in response to legislative actions and court decisions.

After so many legislative changes over the years, their current guidelines are considerably different than the first set adopted in 1982.

The Commission met this month to review sentencing guidelines and appearing on Smart Talk Monday to talk about that process is Mark H. Bergstrom, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing and an Associate Teaching Professor in Criminology at Penn State. Also on the program is Wesley Oliver, J.D., Director of the criminal justice program, and Professor of law at Duquesne University School of Law to offer perspective on how statutes are ultimately applied.


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