Combining the latest work of leading sentencing and punishment scholars from twelve different countries, this major new international volume answers key questions in the study of sentencing and society. It presents not only a rigorous examination of the latest legal and empirical research from around the world, but also reveals the workings of sentencing within society and as a social practice. Traditionally, work in the field of sentencing has been dominated by legal and philosophical approaches. Distinctively, this volume provides a more sociological approach to sentencing: so allowing previously unanswered questions to be addressed and new questions to be opened. This extensive collection is drawn from around one third of the papers presented at the First International Conference on Sentencing and Society. Almost without exception, the chapters have been revised, cross-referenced and updated. The overall themes and findings of the international volume are set out by the opening "Introduction" and the closing "Reflections" chapters. Research findings on particular penal policy questions are balanced with an analysis of fundamental conceptual issues, making this international volume essential reading for: sentencing and punishment scholars, criminal justice policy-makers, and graduate students.