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NCJ Number: 49831 Find in a Library
Title: CALIFORNIA - COMMITTEE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE - REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON SENTENCING AND PRISON REFORM
Author(s): ANON
Corporate Author: California State Bar
United States of America
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 221
Sponsoring Agency: California State Bar
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A STUDY OF THE PRISON SENTENCE ALTERNATIVE WAS CONDUCTED BY THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA'S COMMITTEE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND FOCUSED ON PROBATION, PRISON REFORM, AND INDETERMINATE SENTENCING.
Abstract: A QUESTIONNAIRE WAS DISTRIBUTED TO EVERY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE IN CALIFORNIA TO DETERMINE WHAT MOTIVATES JUDGES TO SEND INDIVIDUALS TO PRISON. ONSITE INSPECTIONS OF FOUR PRISONS (SAN QUENTIN, FOLSOM, SOLEDAD, AND VACAVILLE) WERE MADE. THE COMMITTEE ALSO ATTENDED A NUMBER OF PUBLIC HEARINGS AND HEARD FROM MANY PERSONS ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRISONS AND PRISON TERM FIXING. IT WAS DETERMINED FROM THE STUDY FINDINGS THAT THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS HAS ABANDONED REHABILITATION IN THE PRISON SETTING AS AN ATTAINABLE GOAL. PRISON ADMINISTRATORS OPERATE THE STATE PRISON SYSTEM ON THE THEORY THAT THE PRIMARY OBJECTIVES OF PRISON SENTENCES ARE ISOLATION AND PUNISHMENT OF OFFENDERS. ALTHOUGH THE DEPARTMENT BELIEVES THAT THE DESIRE TO BECOME REHABILITATED MUST COME FROM WITHIN THE INDIVIDUAL, PRISON ADMINISTRATORS DO NOT HAVE AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PLAN TO MOTIVATE PRISONERS TO PARTICIPATE IN EXISTING PROGRAMS. JUDGES ASSUME THAT PRISON ADMINISTRATORS ARE CAPABLE OF ADMINISTERING PRISONS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF BOTH THE PRISON COMMUNITY AND SOCIETY AND OF PROVIDING FOR RELEASE ON PAROLE ONLY WHEN INMATES NO LONGER CONSTITUTE A DANGER TO SOCIETY. THERE IS NO STATISTICAL OR QUANTIFIABLE EVIDENCE THAT ISOLATION IN PRISON, BY ITSELF, ACCOMPLISHES REHABILITATION. AS A RESULT OF THE ABANDONMENT OF REHABILITATION AS A PRIMARY GOAL, THERE HAS FOLLOWED A REJECTION OF THE FUNDAMENTAL PREMISE OF THE INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW WHICH STATES THAT THE DECISION TO RELEASE A PRISONER SHOULD BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF REHABILITATION AND FAVORABLE RESPONSE TO PRISON PROGRAMS. A DETERMINATE SENTENCE SYSTEM HAS BEEN ADOPTED UNDER WHICH DEFINITE RELEASE DATES ARE FIXED WITHIN 120 DAYS AFTER COMMITMENT FOR ALL BUT A SMALL MINORITY OF EXTREMELY DANGEROUS PRISONERS SERVING LIFE TERMS. INITIAL RELEASE DATES ARE INDIVIDUALIZED ONLY WITHIN EXTREMELY NARROW RANGES AND NEVER ON THE BASIS OF PRISON PERFORMANCE, REHABILITATION, OR RESPONSE TO PRISON PROGRAMS. THERE IS A NEED FOR FURTHER SCREENING, TRAINING, AND EDUCATION OF PRISON STAFF AT BOTH THE ENTRANCE LEVEL AND ABOVE. TWENTY-THREE RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE PRISON SENTENCING ARE OFFERED. A BIBLIOGRAPHY IS PROVIDED, AND APPENDIXES CONTAIN THE STUDY QUESTIONNAIRE AND RELEVANT INFORMATION ON THE PRISON SENTENCE ALTERNATIVE. (DEP)
Index Term(s): California; Determinate Sentencing; Incarceration; Indeterminate sentences; Inmates; Reform
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=49831

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