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Article
Publication date: 16 July 2021

Lais Meneses Brasileiro Dourado and Benedikt Fischer

This paper aims to examine sentencing decisions for drug-trafficking offences in the criminal courts of the city of Recife to address a gap in quantitative research on…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine sentencing decisions for drug-trafficking offences in the criminal courts of the city of Recife to address a gap in quantitative research on drug sentencing and incarceration in Brazil.

Design/methodology/approach

Using original data obtained from the Court of Justice for Pernambuco, the research used multivariate regression analysis to investigate the effect of case processing, offender, and offence characteristics on sentence length.

Findings

A key finding of the research is the influence of two legal factors on sentence length: admitting to a drug-trafficking offence and being categorized as “mitigated trafficking”. Results also indicate that first-time defendants were more likely to be categorized as mitigated trafficking, stressing the importance of criminal history on predicting sentencing outcomes. “Mitigated trafficking” is a distinct category of drug-trafficking created by the Drug Law nº. 11.343 (2006) to protect defendants considered novices in the illicit drug market from receiving longer imprisonment sentences.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that the policy strategy of having a legal distinction for a specific type of defendant appears to be effective in impacting sentence length for drug-trafficking convictions. Future research could explore how similar strategies could be adopted to influence sentencing for other vulnerable groups. However, focussing on a defendant records or prior convictions as an eligibility criterion could disproportionately impact defendants who are caught in a cycle of re-offending for socio-economic reasons or a need to finance a substance use disorder.

Originality/value

This research address a gap in quantitative sentencing research in Brazil and contributes to the broader literature by presenting results that are aligned with previous studies conducted in North America.

Details

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3841

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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2021

Farnoush Bayatmakou, Azadeh Mohebi and Abbas Ahmadi

Query-based summarization approaches might not be able to provide summaries compatible with the user’s information need, as they mostly rely on a limited source of…

Abstract

Purpose

Query-based summarization approaches might not be able to provide summaries compatible with the user’s information need, as they mostly rely on a limited source of information, usually represented as a single query by the user. This issue becomes even more challenging when dealing with scientific documents, as they contain more specific subject-related terms, while the user may not be able to express his/her specific information need in a query with limited terms. This study aims to propose an interactive multi-document text summarization approach that generates an eligible summary that is more compatible with the user’s information need. This approach allows the user to interactively specify the composition of a multi-document summary.

Design/methodology/approach

This approach exploits the user’s opinion in two stages. The initial query is refined by user-selected keywords/keyphrases and complete sentences extracted from the set of retrieved documents. It is followed by a novel method for sentence expansion using the genetic algorithm, and ranking the final set of sentences using the maximal marginal relevance method. Basically, for implementation, the Web of Science data set in the artificial intelligence (AI) category is considered.

Findings

The proposed approach receives feedback from the user in terms of favorable keywords and sentences. The feedback eventually improves the summary as the end. To assess the performance of the proposed system, this paper has asked 45 users who were graduate students in the field of AI to fill out a questionnaire. The quality of the final summary has been also evaluated from the user’s perspective and information redundancy. It has been investigated that the proposed approach leads to higher degrees of user satisfaction compared to the ones with no or only one step of the interaction.

Originality/value

The interactive summarization approach goes beyond the initial user’s query, while it includes the user’s preferred keywords/keyphrases and sentences through a systematic interaction. With respect to these interactions, the system gives the user a more clear idea of the information he/she is looking for and consequently adjusting the final result to the ultimate information need. Such interaction allows the summarization system to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the user’s information needs while expanding context-based knowledge and guiding the user toward his/her information journey.

Details

Information Discovery and Delivery, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-6247

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2021

Keng Hoon Gan and Noeurn Krol

Customer reviews are one important source that contains valuable information for quality evaluation of products or services. Review sentences contain sentiment words that…

Abstract

Purpose

Customer reviews are one important source that contains valuable information for quality evaluation of products or services. Review sentences contain sentiment words that show whether a user’s opinion is positive or negative. When review sentence has mix opinions, having sentiment words of both polarities, it is difficult to conclude whether it is positive or negative opinion. The purpose of this study is to improve the detection of polarity in such situation.

Design methodology approach

In this research, methods such as part-of-speech tagging, polarity analysis and rules selection are used to identify the polarity. A set of rules called contrast and conditional polarity rules (CCPR) has been created to improve the polarity detection in cases when there is mixture of sentiment words used in contrast and conditional type of review sentences. The experiment is conducted with data sets from three domains, i.e. restaurant, electronic and Tripadvisor.

Findings

The experimental result confirms that CCPR rules have higher baseline of the polarity aggression. In restaurant domain, CCPR rules (62.07%) have increased 13.79% compared with the Pol_Agg_MPQA baseline (48.28%) and 13.79% compared with Pol_Agg_Senti baseline (48.28%). In electronic domain, CCPR rule (79.17%) is higher by 12.50% compared with the Pol_Agg_MPQA baseline (66.67%) and 16.67% compared with Pol_Agg_Senti baseline (62.50%). Another one, CCPR rule (70.83%) is higher by 8.33% compared with the Pol_Agg_MPQA baseline (62.50%) and 12.50% compared with Pol_Agg_Senti baseline (58.33%). In conclusion, result of experiment shows promising outcome with improvement in detecting the positivity and negativity of indirect sentence, especially for the case of sentence with indirect polarity.

Originality value

To address the problem of mix opinions in terms of polarities, this paper presents a rule-based approach to improve the result of identifying positivity and negativity in sentence with indirect polarities.

Details

International Journal of Web Information Systems, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-0084

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Book part
Publication date: 16 September 2020

Shona Minson

The chapter is based on studies that explored the consideration of motherhood as a mitigating factor when sentencing women to imprisonment in criminal courts in England…

Abstract

The chapter is based on studies that explored the consideration of motherhood as a mitigating factor when sentencing women to imprisonment in criminal courts in England and Wales. Drawing upon two studies I conducted, it examines the way in which motherhood has been constructed by the courts and the difficulties in centring women's experiences within sentencing. It demonstrates how only by moving to a focus on children's rights has it been possible to ensure sentencers consider the implications of a defendant's motherhood.

The chapter outlines the parameters within which a sentencer can consider motherhood and explores some of the findings from the qualitative research I undertook with Crown Court judges, as part of a larger study in which I also interviewed children whose mother was at the time of interview in prison and the adults providing care to the children in her absence. The studies found that there was inconsistent understanding of a sentencer's duty to consider the impact of any sentence upon dependent children, coupled with a lack of understanding of the consequences of maternal imprisonment for a child. The ways in which this contravenes the Human Rights Act, 1998 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 are identified.

The resources which have been developed for sentencing professionals as a consequence of that work are discussed before considering the lack of concern for women's motherhood when imprisoning women on remand or recall. The chapter concludes with a call for motherhood, and not just children's rights, to be centred in sentencing decisions.

Details

Mothering from the Inside
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-344-0

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Abstract

Details

History & Crime
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-699-6

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Book part
Publication date: 1 January 2014

Ross Kleinstuber

The very contextual nature of most mitigating evidence runs counter to America’s individualistic culture. Prior research has found that capital jurors are unreceptive to…

Abstract

The very contextual nature of most mitigating evidence runs counter to America’s individualistic culture. Prior research has found that capital jurors are unreceptive to most mitigating circumstances, but no research has examined the capital sentencing decisions of trial judges. This study fills that gap through a content analysis of eight judicial sentencing opinions from Delaware. The findings indicate that judges typically dismiss contextualizing evidence in their sentencing opinions and instead focus predominately on the defendant’s culpability. This finding calls into question the ability of guided discretion statutes to ensure the consideration of mitigation and limit arbitrariness in the death penalty.

Details

Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-785-6

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Book part
Publication date: 25 May 2017

Celesta A. Albonetti

This chapter presents four theories that hypothesize race/ethnicity disparities in sentence outcomes. Empirical studies assessing the relationship between defendant’s…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter presents four theories that hypothesize race/ethnicity disparities in sentence outcomes. Empirical studies assessing the relationship between defendant’s race/ethnicity and sentence severity are discussed.

Methodology/approach

I focus on federal sentencing in terms of support or non-support of the theoretical perspectives.

Findings

Sentence disparity linked to defendant’s race/ethnicity are observed as net main effects, as a component in joint-conditioning effects with other extralegal defendant characteristics, and as a variable that conditions the effect of process-related mechanism of discretion, and legally relevant case characteristics, and as indirect effects.

Originality/value

Theories share substantial conceptual overlap in specifying the relationship between defendant’s race/ethnicity and predictions of the effect of defendant’s race/ethnicity on sentence severity.

Details

Race, Ethnicity and Law
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-604-4

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Book part
Publication date: 1 September 2008

Ruthy Lazar

The ways in which battered women respond to domestic violence, and the ways the legal system constructs those responses, constitute the framework of this chapter. The…

Abstract

The ways in which battered women respond to domestic violence, and the ways the legal system constructs those responses, constitute the framework of this chapter. The analysis focuses on mitigation in sentences of battered women who killed their abusers and examines the manifestation of agency and victimization in the mitigation structure. My thesis is that these women are perceived by courts solely as victims who lack agency and autonomy. Three main themes emerge from the analysis: first, the courts focus on the mental state of the defendants, stressing their psychological deficiencies as the primary mitigating factors. Secondly, many cases are categorized by courts as unique cases. Thirdly, in several cases the courts portray the women as “victims of circumstances”. An alternative analysis to that offered by the courts, one that seeks to reframe the mitigation process, is introduced in this chapter. According to this analysis, the narrative used in cases of battered women who kill should be changed to reflect dimensions of agency and resistance. In the suggested discourse, the abuse these women suffer is acknowledged, but is used to explain the women's urge to self-preservation and thus, the rationality and reasonableness of their acts.

Details

Studies in Law, Politics and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-090-2

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Book part
Publication date: 10 October 2014

Aleksandr Khechumyan

This chapter aims to demonstrate that the fundamental human rights principle that no one should be subjected to (grossly) disproportionate punishment should be interpreted…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter aims to demonstrate that the fundamental human rights principle that no one should be subjected to (grossly) disproportionate punishment should be interpreted to take into account terminal illness of the offender. It should be applied both during imposition of the sentences and also during execution of already imposed sentences.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to reveal whether this principle takes into account serious medical conditions, including terminal illness of the offender in the calculus of the proportionality of punishment and whether it is applicable at the execution stage of sentences, this chapter examined the roots of the fundamental human rights principle of proportionality of punishment by briefly surveying the penal theory, jurisprudence, court cases, laws, and legislative history from the U.S. federal and state jurisdictions and from Europe.

Findings

There is a consensus among surveyed theories that terminal illness of the offender is an element of the principle of proportionality of punishment. Thus the fundamental human rights principle must be interpreted to take it into account. The principle should be observed not only at the imposition stage, but also at the execution stage of already imposed sentences.

Originality/value

This chapter re-examines the roots of the fundamental human right to not being subjected to (grossly) disproportionate punishment. It does so in order to demonstrate that the right should be interpreted to take into account terminal illness of the offender and that it should be observed not only at the imposition stage, but also at the execution stage of already imposed sentences.

Details

Punishment and Incarceration: A Global Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-907-2

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Article
Publication date: 26 December 2020

Mickael Ballot, Anta Niang, Stéphane Laurens and Benoit Testé

This paper aims to examine whether being shown a testimony alleging that the perpetrator of a crime was influenced by an accomplice has an impact on the severity of the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine whether being shown a testimony alleging that the perpetrator of a crime was influenced by an accomplice has an impact on the severity of the sentence given to this accomplice.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 119 participants read the summary of a case of armed robbery. Two experimental conditions were adopted: the presence of a testimony suggesting the accomplice’s influence on the perpetrator in committing the crime (versus no testimony). The participants were then asked what sentence they would give the accomplice and what sentence they would have given the perpetrator of the crime, who had in fact already been sentenced. The participants rated items relating to the explanation for the crime (perception that the perpetrator had been manipulated by the presumed accomplice) and to the presumed accomplice’s intent to commit the crime.

Findings

The participants showed themselves to be harsher towards the presumed accomplice when they were shown the testimony about his influence, which reduced the disparity with the sentence they would have given to the perpetrator of the crime. Analyses of mediation show that the participants shown the testimony (as opposed to those who were not) were more likely to say that the presumed accomplice manipulated the perpetrator of the crime, leading them to be more likely to attribute to the accomplice the intent to commit the crime and to be harsher towards him.

Originality/value

The results of this research are discussed with a focus on naïve interpretations of influence in the very specific context of legal adjudication.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

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