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Sentencing Guidelines: Step 1, Chapter 1

Bias Check – Stop and Review Ten Best Practices

Table of Contents

Bias Check – Stop and Review Ten Best Practices

As you move through Steps 2 through 12 consider the following:

  • Are there areas or decision points in which bias may be present?
  • Should you allow more time because bias may be a concern?
  • Have you avoided decisions under rushed, stressed, distracted, or pressured circumstances?
  • Have you taken special care when you must respond quickly to avoid making snap decisions?
  • Have you critically reviewed your decision making process before committing to a decision?
  • Have you considered what evidence supports the conclusions you have drawn and how you should challenge unsupported assumptions?
  • Ask yourself if your opinion of the defendant(s), victim(s), witness(es) or case would be different if the people belonged to different racial, ethnic, gender identity, sexual orientation or age groups?
  • Have you taken notes on your decision making process?
  • Have you tracked your decision in this case in relation to other cases and examined your decisions for patterns of bias?
  • Have you taken into account that in minority and poor neighborhoods deep police penetration may result in disproportionately high prosecution for certain offenses?

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Contact   for Sentencing Guidelines: Step 1, Chapter 1


John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square - G300, Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: April 26, 2019

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