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NCJ Number: 157510 Find in a Library
Title: California's Determinate Sentencing: What Went Wrong?
Journal: Perspectives  Volume:19  Issue:3  Dated:(Summer 1995)  Pages:19-22
Author(s): N Holt
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 4
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: California adopted determinate sentencing in 1977; all inmates except those with life sentences serve fixed prison terms established by the trial judge.
Abstract: The determinate sentencing legislation was intended to solve capriciousness in sentencing and to ensure defendants serve the time intended. Despite the intended effects of California's determinate sentencing system, the elimination of discretionary parole release has major shortcomings. The determinate sentencing system has shifted sentencing discretion from the statewide board to the political arena of district attorney's offices and legislative chambers, provided a structure that invites excessive legislation, eliminated the ability to equalize justice among California counties, and diminished the capacity to manage unusually heinous cases. In addition, determinate sentences adversely affect the motivation and prerelease preparation of inmates. Further, California's prison population has quadrupled between 1977 and 1993, and this can largely be attributed to determinate sentences. Some also argue that California's high parole revocation rate is partially due to fixed sentences. The author concludes that problems created by determinate sentencing reform may be worse than the problems it was intended to fix. 3 tables
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Arrest statistics; California; Corrections effectiveness; Determinate Sentencing; Inmate statistics; Parole effectiveness; Parole violations; Sentence effectiveness; Sentencing reform; State laws
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