Determinate sentencing: A feminist and postmodern story

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In this article I employ the concept of storytelling, as developed in feminist and postmodern theory, to explore the assumptions underlying the story about determinate sentencing that has dominated sentencing research and policy since the 1970s. Four analytic tools embedded in storytelling - a critique of objectivity, a focus on process, an understanding of identity, and a new conceptualization of power - are used to investigate core assumptions that guide determinate sentencing policy. Finally, I offer a new story about sentencing and argue that the incarceration crisis fostered by current sentencing policy is in part a crisis of imagination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-648
Number of pages39
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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