skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 52266 Find in a Library
Title: LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF INDETERMINATE SENTENCING AND PAROLE IN MICHIGAN
Journal: DETROIT COLLEGE OF LAW REVIEW  Volume:1978, ISSUE 1  Dated:(SPRING 1978)  Pages:1-27
Author(s): J P QUINN
Corporate Author: Detroit College of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: Detroit College of Law
Detroit, MI 48201
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: MICHIGAN'S JURISTS AND JOURNALISTS HAVE DEBATED THE LEGAL AND MORAL ASPECTS OF INDETERMINATE SENTENCING FOR OVER A CENTURY IN EFFORTS TO PROTECT BOTH THE INDIVIDUAL OFFENDER AND SOCIETY.
Abstract: SINCE 1869 INDETERMINATE CONFINEMENT HAS REPLACED FIXED SENTENCES FOR FELONIES PUNISHABLE BY IMPRISONMENT IN MICHIGAN. THIS REPLACEMENT OF FIXED SENTENCES PARALLELED THE CHANGE IN THE PERCEIVED PURPOSES OF IMPRISONMENT, FROM A PUNITIVE RATIONALE TO A REHABILITATIVE APPROACH. ALTHOUGH MERE PUNISHMENT COULD BE METED OUT WITH A FIXED TERM OF YEARS OF INCARCERATION, THE DECISIONMAKING PROCESS CONCERNING AN OFFENDER'S REHABILITATED STATUS REQUIRED THE USE OF EXPERTS IN BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT. THE CHANGE IN PUBLIC POLICY TOWARDS PENOLOGY OCCURRED WITH A SHIFT IN THE SITE OF FINAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR A CONVICT'S RELEASE, FROM THE LEGISLATURE TO THE MICHIGAN PAROLE BOARD. THE MICHIGAN INDETERMINATE SENTENCING STATUTE OF 1889 PROVIDED FOR THE COURT'S DISCRETION IN SENTENCING, THE RELEASE OF A PRISONER WHO SERVED A MINIMUM SENTENCE AT THE DISCRETION OF THE STATE BOARD, AND THE IMMEDIATE RETURN TO PRISON OF ANY PAROLEE BY WARRANT FROM THE STATE BOARD. THIS STATUTE WAS SOON HELD UNCONSTITUTIONAL BY THE MICHIAN STATE SUPREME COURT AS VIOLATING THE JUDICIAL POWER TO PRONOUNCE SENTENCE AND/OR THE EXECUTIVE POWER TO GRANT PARDONS. THE COURT DISAGREED WITH THE PUBLIC POLICY OF THE STATUTE BELIEVING THAT IT WOULD RESULT IN THE RELEASE OF POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS OFFENDERS AND THAT IT WOULD REST TOO MUCH AUTHORITY ON THE STATE BOARD. THE LEGISLATURE RESPONDED BY INCREASING THE PAROLE POWERS OF THE GOVERNOR, BUT THE USE OF SUCH POWER WAS ATTACKED SEVERELY BY THE PRESS DURING THE ADMINISTRATION OF GOVERNOR PINGREE. IN 1903 THE INDETERMINATE SENTENCING STATUTE WAS REVIVED, SUBSEQUENT TO THE AMENDING OF THE MICHIGAN CONSTITUTION. THE BASIC PROVISIONS OF THE 1903 LAW ARE STILL IN EFFECT IN MICHIGAN, PROVIDING FOR LEGISLATIVELY DETERMINED MAXIMUM SENTENCES, JUDICIALLY SET MINIMUM SENTENCES OF AT LEAST TWO-THIRDS THE MAXIMUM, AND CERTAIN SPECIFIED EXCEPTIONS. A SERIES OF STATUTES AND AMENDMENTS ESTABLISHED THE POWER AND AUTHORITY OF THE PAROLE BOARD. THE BOARD'S PROCEDURES AND AUTHORITY HAVE REMAINED LARGELY UNCHANGED SINCE 1937, WITH ONLY MINOR CHANGES IN THE COMPOSITION OF THE BOARD. SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN THE SENTENCING STATUTES MAY OCCUR DURING THE NEXT FEW YEARS, WITH PARTICULAR CONSIDERATION BEING GIVEN TO THE PROBLEM OF SENTENCE DISPARITY, AND TO THE CONCEPT OF APPELLATE REVIEW OF SENTENCES. IT IS DOUBTFUL THAT A RETURN TO FIXED OR FLAT SENTENCES WOULD ELIMINATE THE DIFFICULTIES OF THE PRESENT SYSTEM, ALTHOUGH SEVERAL PROPOSALS HAVE BEEN MADE ADVOCATING SUCH RETURN. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (TWK).
Index Term(s): Indeterminate sentences; Judicial discretion; Judicial review; Laws and Statutes; Legislation; Michigan; Parole; Parole board; Probation; Probation or parole decisionmaking; Sentencing disparity
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=52266

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.