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NCJ Number: 52189 Find in a Library
Title: PAROLE COMMISSION SURVEY OF SENTENCING JUDGES
Journal: POPULAR GOVERNMENT  Volume:42  Issue:2  Dated:(FALL 1976)  Pages:14-18
Author(s): J SCISM
Corporate Author: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-5381
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: RESULTS ARE REPORTED OF A SURVEY OF 49 NORTH CAROLINA JUDGES TO DETERMINE THE EFFECT OF PAROLE CONSIDERATIONS ON SENTENCING.
Abstract: THE SURVEY OF THE 49 JUDGES, SPONSORED BY THE PAROLE COMMISSION, WAS PROMPTED BY THE FREQUENT CHARGE THAT JUDGES, REALIZING THAT CONSIDERATION FOR PAROLE IS MANDATORY AFTER COMPLETION OF ONE-FOURTH OF PRESCRIBED SENTENCE, QUADRUPLE THE SENTENCE TO GUARANTEE THAT THE CONVICTED OFFENDER WILL BE IMPRISONED A LENGTH OF TIME DEEMED APPROPRIATE BY THE JUDGE. THIS CHARGE IS FUELED BY THE PRACTICE OF THE PAROLE COMMISSION THAT BASES DECISIONS ON THE SEVERITY OF THE CRIME COMMITTED AND ANY PLEA-BARGAINING CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECTED WITH CONVICTION MORE THAN ON THE PRISON BEHAVIOR OF THE OFFENDER. IT IS ARGUED THAT THE JUDGE TAKES THE SEVERITY OF THE CRIME INTO CONSIDERATION IN ASSURING THAT THE SENTENCE IS SUFFICIENTLY LONG BEFORE THE OFFENDER IS ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE, SO THAT THE COMMISSION NEED NOT CONSIDER WHETHER THE LENGTH OF IMPRISONMENT HAS BEEN SUFFICIENT FOR THE SEVERITY OF THE CRIME. THIS SAME PERSPECTIVE MAINTAINS THAT PRISON BEHAVIOR SHOULD BE THE BASIS FOR THE PAROLE DECISION. THE SURVEY DETERMINED THAT THE MAJORITY OF JUDGES DID TAKE CRIMINAL HISTORY INTO ACCOUNT WHEN PASSING SENTENCE, BUT ONLY 4 JUDGES INDICATED THEY QUADRUPLED SENTENCES TO COMPENSATE FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE. MANY OF THE JUDGES, HOWEVER, INDICATED THAT THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE AT THE COMPLETION OF ONE-FOURTH OF THE PRONOUNCED SENTENCE DID AFFECT THEIR SENTENCING DECISIONS. OF THE 49 JUDGES SURVEYED, 46 INDICATED THEY FELT THE PAROLE COMMISSION SHOULD CONCERN ITSELF WITH THE SEVERITY OF THE CRIME COMMITTED, BUT SIGNIFICANTLY FEWER FELT THE COMMISSION SHOULD EXPLORE THE PLEA BARGAINING CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CONVICTION. THE SURVEY REVEALED THAT A MAJORITY OF THE JUDGES DID EXPECT INMATES WITH INDETERMINATE SENTENCES TO BE RELEASED AFTER COMPLETING THEIR MINIMUM SENTENCES, ASSUMING THEIR CONDUCT IN PRISON HAD BEEN SATISFACTORY. THIS REVEALED A COMMUNICATION GAP BETWEEN THE PAROLE COMMISSION AND THE JUDGES, SINCE IN ACTUALITY ONLY ABOUT 35 PERCENT OF THE PRISONERS REVIEWED ARE GRANTED PAROLE AT OR NEAR THEIR EARLIEST ELIGIBILITY DATE. A SAMPLE OF THE SURVEY INSTRUMENT IS INCLUDED. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; Indeterminate sentences; North Carolina; Parole board; Sentencing/Sanctions; Surveys
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=52189

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