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NCJ Number: 77441 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing Reform and Parole Release Guidelines
Journal: University of Colorado Law Review  Volume:51  Issue:2  Dated:(1980)  Pages:237-245
Author(s): A W Alschuler
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The new parole release guidelines, based on determinate sentencing, should be administered by courts which can assess relevant facts better than parole boards, according to this paper.
Abstract: The guidelines promulgate the circumstances of the offense and the offender's characteristics as a basis for the sentence. Because these circumstances and characteristics are known at the time that an offender arrives at a correctional institution, the presumptive release date can be determined shortly thereafter and promptly communicated to the prisoner. This system has many advantages sought by determinate sentencing advocates. For example, the offender has less to gain through hypocritical efforts to curry favor with the parole board, and the psychological torture is reduced when the release date is known in advance. The guidelines also mark dramatic progress toward solving the problem of judicial sentencing disparity. The U.S. Parole Commission, a relatively small national agency, is expected to apply its guidelines in a uniform fashion, but the courts should determine the length of incarceration under the guidelines system because they can better assess the relevant facts. However, courts will be ready to apply the guidelines only after plea bargaining is restricted. This practice raises general problems of factual adjudication in sentencing. Another problem raised by the guidelines is that of grading the severity of offenses. For example, in the area of property offenses, legislative classifications of crime often are too detailed to be helpful for sentencing purposes, while for offenses against the person, legislation is usually too general. Detailed offense-by-offense and situation-by-situation studies are needed. Finally, an important advantage of the new guidelines is that they brought the problems of grading the severity of offenses and of factual adjudication in sentencing into the open. A total of 21 reference notes are included.
Index Term(s): Federal parole guidelines; Judicial discretion; Parole; Sentencing disparity; Sentencing guidelines; Sentencing reform
Note: This article is a revised version of testimony before the United States Parole Commission.
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