A Practical Measure of Offence Seriousness: Sentence Severity , continued

A Practical Measure of Offence Seriousness: Sentence Severity , continued

The Power Law (Stevens, 1957) states that equal physical ratios are psychologically equal. That is, if ratios were to be constructed between scale values representing pairs of offence categories, an adjudicator should be able to determine, as a subjective judgement, the sets of ratios which best represent the social harm consequences of given types of acts. Table 5 presents the ratios, derived from the offence seriousness and sentence severity scales, between pairs of CCC offence categories. In this table, in order to employ “real” NSCS values for offence seriousness, the longer list of 33 pairings used in Study 2 is employed, with offence seriousness values based on the single most representative crime description for each offence category. The codes used to represent each offence category refer to the list of offenses and crime descriptions in the order shown in Table 2. In Table 5, the ratios have been rounded to the nearest whole number for ease of reading.

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Insert Table 5 about here
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Examples may facilitate the reading of Table 5. Table 5 shows that, according to the NSCS offence seriousness scale (above the diagonal) approximately 5 minor assaults would be equivalent to one murder, whereas according to the sentence severity scale (below the diagonal), 179 minor assaults would be required to be equivalent to one murder. Again, according to the NSCS offence seriousness scale, one theft-over is equivalent to one robbery, whereas, according to the sentence severity scale, five theft-overs would be equivalent to one robbery.

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