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Title: Shorter sentences for drug mules: The early impact of the sentencing guidelines in England and Wales
Authors: Fleetwood, Jennifer
Radcliffe, P.
Stevens, A.
First Published: 16-Mar-2015
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
Citation: Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 2015, online advance 1–9
Abstract: Aims: In February 2012, new sentencing guidelines for drug offences became effective in all courts in England and Wales. An explicit aim was to reduce the length of sentences for drug “mules” and so make them more proportionate. Methods: This article examines their early impact drawing on data from the Court Proceedings Database and the Crown Court Sentencing Survey for importing/exporting a Class A drug. Findings: Overall, the guidelines have achieved their intended aim. The length of the average custodial sentence for drug trafficking fell following the introduction of the guidelines, largely due to taking defendants' roles into account. Notably, three-quarters of those in “lesser” roles received sentences less than four years, representing an important change. Nonetheless, around 10% of mules received very long sentences due to the continued use of drug weight in sentencing. Conclusion: The new guidelines represent an internationally important innovation in drug policy reform.
DOI Link: 10.3109/09687637.2015.1011607
ISSN: 0968-7637
eISSN: 1465-3370
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Archived with reference to SHERPA/RoMEO and publisher website.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Criminology

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