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Institute of Criminology


Julian Roberts

Professor of Criminology, University of Oxford, Executive Director of the Sentencing Academy

‘Contemporary Issues in Sentencing’

This presentation discusses two key issues: sentencing ethnic minorities and deferred sentencing.

In Part he will explore the approaches to sentencing ethnic minorities taken in different jurisdictions. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines explicitly disregard race as a factor to be considered at sentencing. In Canada, courts have imposed significantly mitigated sentences in recognition of systemic racism. Canada has also introduced ‘Impact of Race and Culture Assessments’ – pre-sentence reports which provide judges with a fuller appreciation of the defendant's background. In England and Wales, the Sentencing Council has taken a middle ground on the issue: courts are reminded of the over-representation of BAME individuals in the justice system, but no guidance is given regarding the sentencing of BAME offenders.

Part II will address a little-known element of English sentencing law: Deferred Sentencing. Courts have the power to defer sentence for up to six months. This provides the offender with an opportunity to demonstrate progress towards rehabilitation and may result in the court imposing a noncustodial sentence when imprisonment was likely prior to deferral.  He will explore the promise and perils of deferring sentencing.

This seminar is open to all who are interested. 

In person attendance: We are only able to accommodate 40 people attending in person, so if you wish to attend in person please register here: Seminar will take place in Rooms B3 & B4, Institute of Criminology, Sidgwick Avenue.

Measures are in place in line with University Covid Guidelines: Masks are encouraged and hand sanitiser is available.

To attend online: please register your interest here:

For those of you unable to attend, the event will be recorded and posted our Event Recordings webpage.


Thursday, 28 October, 2021 - 17:30 to 19:00
Event location: 
Online and B3 & B4, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge