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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 158556 Find in a Library
Title: History of Defense-Based Sentencing Program Development
Author(s): M C Young
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Sentencing Project
Washington, DC 20036
Sale Source: Sentencing Project
1705 DeSales Street, NW
8th Floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This history of defense-based sentencing program development traces the evolution of concepts and program implementation as well as evaluation findings.
Abstract: Defense-based sentencing, sometimes referred to as "client specific planning," traces its history back to the 1970's. At that time, a few practitioners began preparing individualized sentencing proposals on behalf of offenders to be presented to judges as recommendations for alternatives to incarceration. These sentencing proposals incorporated a detailed social history of the offender, along with an individualized sentencing plan that responded to the goals of sentencing in the particular case. Through the efforts of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association in the early 1980's and The Sentencing Project since 1986, the model of individualized sentencing advocacy originally used primarily for white-collar offenders has been expanded to focus on indigent offenders. Today, more than 200 such programs are estimated to exist nationwide. Typically, sentencing plans include a social history of the defendant, an analysis of the factors that led to the offense, and proposals for sentencing that respond to the sentencing goals of the court in the particular case. The elements of the sentencing plan may involve some or all of the following: restitution, community service, substance abuse treatment, employment, house arrest, intensive probation, fines, family counseling, and weekend incarceration. Overall, evaluations of these programs show that they have been and can be effective alternatives to incarceration, with impacts as great as or greater than other programs. A program's total impact can be substantial when the number of persons it diverts from incarceration approaches the number of inmates for which an entire correctional institution must be built and operated. Potential cost savings at that point far exceed any program costs. 1 figure and 28 footnotes
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Presentence investigations; Presentence studies
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