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NCJ Number: 52198 Find in a Library
Title: FIXED SENTENCES EMERGE AS NEW TREND IN CORRECTIONS
Journal: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CORRECTION  Volume:40  Issue:4  Dated:(SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1978)  Pages:30-31,33-34
Author(s): G W HOWARD; J J MCHUGH
Corporate Author: American Correctional Assoc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: American Correctional Assoc
Alexandria, VA 22314
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE EMERGENCE OF FIXED SENTENCES AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO INDETERMINATE SENTENCING AND PAROLE IS DISCUSSED.
Abstract: THE UNDERLYING PRESUMPTION IN THE FIXED SENTENCING CONCEPT IS THAT A FINDING OF GUILT WILL PREDICTABLY INCUR A PARTICULAR FIXED SENTENCE UNLESS MITIGATING OR AGGRAVATING FACTORS ARE ESTABLISHED. THE ENACTMENT OF FIXED SENTENCING BY THE CONGRESS WILL SHARPLY LIMIT THE POWER OF FEDERAL JUDGES AND THE U.S. PAROLE COMMISSION IN DECIDING HOW MANY YEARS A CONVICTED CRIMINAL WILL REMAIN IN PRISON. ENACTMENT INTO LAW OF MANDATORY AND FIXED SENTENCES WILL MAKE CRIMINAL PUNISHMENT MORE UNIFORM, SINCE DIFFERENT JUDGES FREQUENTLY IMPOSE VARYING PUNISHMENT FOR IDENTICAL CRIMES COMMITTED UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES. ALTHOUGH THE SENTENCE MOST FREQUENTLY IMPOSED IS PROBATION, THIS SENTENCE DOES NOT ACCOMPLISH ITS DUAL OBJECTIVES OF PROTECTING THE COMMUNITY AND REHABILITATING OFFENDERS. THE INDETERMINATE SENTENCE ACT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PROVIDES THAT A JUDGE OR JUSTICE, IN SENTENCING A PERSON CONVICTED OF A FELONY, MUST IMPOSE A SENTENCE CONTAINING BOTH A MAXIMUM AND A MINIMUM TERM. DESPITE TRENDS IN CORRECTIONS TO EMPHASIZE BOTH THE CRIME AND THE PERPETRATOR AND THE SENTENCING PROCESS THAT FOCUSES ON THE PROTECTION OF SOCIETY THROUGH PUNISHMENT AND DETERRENCE, THE CONCEPT OF REHABILITATION IS STILL A VIABLE OBJECTIVE OF CRIMINAL LAW. PROTECTION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME IS IMPORTANT AND, IN THIS REGARD, A TREND IN SENTENCING THAT IS GAINING IN MOMENTUM EMPHASIZES MANDATORY AND FIXED SENTENCES FOR THOSE CONVICTED OF CERTAIN TYPES OF VIOLENCE AND FOR REPEAT OFFENDERS. THE DETERRENT EFFECT OF THE MANDATORY AND FIXED SENTENCE IS RECOUNTED BY RECIDIVIST OFFENDERS AND ENCOMPASSES SUCH IDEAS AS CERTAINTY OF PUNISHMENT AND IMPRISONMENT WITHOUT REHABILITATION. A SENATE BILL PROPOSING MAJOR REVISION AND REORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL CRIMINAL STATUTES CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS: MANDATORY MINIMUM PRISON SENTENCES FOR HEROIN TRAFFICKERS, ELIMINATION OF SIMPLE POSSESSION OF SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIHUANA AS A FEDERAL CRIME, SENTENCING GUIDELINE SYSTEM TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM OF UNWARRANTED SENTENCING DISPARITY BETWEEN JUDGES, CREATION OF A SENTENCING AUTHORITY FOR THE TRIAL JUDGE TO BAR PAROLE FOR 9/10THS OF THE TERM OF IMPRISONMENT IMPOSED, BETTER COVERAGE FOR WHITE COLLAR CRIMES, IMPROVED PROVISIONS TO FIGHT ORGANIZED CRIME, PROGRAM TO COMPENSATE VICTIMS OF VIOLENT CRIMES WITH FUNDS DERIVED FROM CRIMINAL FINES, AND EXPANSION OF THE CIVIL AND CRIMINAL JURISDICTION OF U.S. MAGISTRATES. LEGISLATION ENACTED BY CONGRESS SINCE 1925 HAS MADE AVAILABLE TO JUDGES A WIDE RANGE OF SENTENCING ALTERNATIVES AIMED AT INDIVIDUALIZED TREATMENT OF CRIMINAL OFFENDERS. THESE ALTERNATIVES AND THEIR REHABILITATION OBJECTIVES ARE DISCUSSED, AND THE VALUE OF INDETERMINATE SENTENCING IS CONSIDERED. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Determinate Sentencing; Deterrence; Federal government; Indeterminate sentences; Laws and Statutes; Mandatory Sentencing; Offenders; Parole; Rehabilitation
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=52198

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