Mandatory sentencing and judicial discretion: the Tanzania search for a penal policy

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study centers on Tanzania's Minimum Sentences Acts, 1963 - 1972. It explores their background, reviews their application and assesses their effects. The inception of these Acts is believed to have dramatically changed the country's penal outlook both as regards the nature and magnitude of punishment and the attitude to judicial discretion. The study therefore seeks to establish the governing policy and the behaviour of the courts in the context of traditional judicial discretion and the same phenomena in the context of the Acts. the underlying hypothesis is that the legislation has had the effect of shifting emphasis from deterrence and reformation to retribution, deterrence and incapacitation while simultaneously eroding the discretion of the courts to individualise punishment. Because this policy relies on the supposed efficacy of draconian measures, the study seeks to show that it is counter-productive, as well as self-destructive; and because it denies the relevance in sentencing of gravity and culpability in crime, the study seeks to show that the policy is potentially unjust. Hence, while the policy may be seen as the 'inevitable' response to the prevailing criminal climate, an attempt is made to demonstrate that it is, nevertheless, undesirable. It is hoped that the findings might provide some lessons to the legislator, perhaps also to the judicial officer.
Available in print form
Sentences (Criminal procedure), Tanzania, Judicial discretion
Lugakingira, K.S.K (1989) Mandatory sentencing and judicial discretion: the Tanzania search for a penal policy,Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at ( )