Just deserts, as a ideology of punishment, says that criminal sanctions should be commensuprice with the seriousness of the offense. This paper analyzes the severity of punishment meted out to felony offenders in a huge urban jurisdiction in the Midwest and argues that two dimensions of criminal sanction need to be examined to understand also punishment severity: the kind of sanction received and also the length of sentence. We likewise argue that the frequency and visibility of crime are connected to punishment severity. Analyses suggest that crime visibility is a great predictor both of judicial decisions to incarcerate and of the length of term of probation. Crime frequency, on the other hand, has bit predictive power. We conclude that judges in the jurisdiction are guided by a modified simply deserts philosophy in their sentencing decisions.




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