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NCJ Number: 63333 Find in a Library
Title: ODE TO THE PRE-SENTENCE REPORT OWED TO THE PRE-SENTENCE REPORT - AUSTRALIA
Author(s): C R FOLEY-JONES
Corporate Author: Western Australia Dept of Corrections
Australia
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: Western Australia Dept of Corrections
Perth, Western, Australia 6000
Sale Source: Western Australia Dept of Corrections
1004 Hay Street
Perth,
Australia
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: A PSYCHOLOGIST WITH THE AUSTRALIAN CORRECTIONS SYSTEM DISCUSSES PRESENTENCE REPORTS AND THEIR IMPACT ON SENTENCING PROCESSES.
Abstract: CITING SEVERAL RESEARCH STUDIES, THE PAPER DESCRIBES THE TREND BACK TO DETERMINATE SENTENCING IN THE UNITED STATES. EVIDENCE INDICATES THAT PRESENTENCE REPORTS DO NOT AFFECT RECIDIVISM OR THE NUMBER OF CRIMINALS SENT TO PRISON. A CALIFORNIA STUDY ON THE RELATIONSHIP OF PRESENTENCE REPORTS TO COURT DISPOSITIONS FOUND THAT COURTS TENDED TO FOLLOW THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF PROBATIONS OFFICERS, BUT THAT BOTH GROUPS APPEARED TO BASE THEIR DECISIONS ON SIMILAR FACTORS. IN AUSTRALIA, PAROLE OFFICERS OFTEN TRY TO PREDICT WHAT THE COURT MIGHT DO AND THEN TAILOR THEIR RECOMENDATIONS ACCORDINGLY. PRESENTENCE REPORTS THAT SUGGEST APPROACHES TO REHABILITATION CAN BE EDUCATIONAL FOR THE JUDICIARY, ALTHOUGH THEY MAY BE DISCARDED. CRITICS CLAIM THAT PRESENTENCE REPORTS MAY CONTAIN INACCURATE INFORMATION THAT CAN PREJUDICE AN OFFENDER'S CASE. A REPORT CAN BE INFLUENCED BY THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE OFFENDER AND THE PAROLE OFFICER OR THE SOCIAL STATUS OF THE OFFENDER. JUDGES SEEM TO REGARD PSYCHOLOGISTS AND PAROLE OFFICERS AS ABSOLUTELY IMPARTIAL AND IGNORE THE POSSIBILITY THAT THEY MIGHT BE PROMOTING PERSONAL VIEWPOINTS. ALTHOUGH PRESENTENCE REPORTS CONTRIBUTE TO INJUSTICES AND DISPARITIES IN SENTENCING, THEY DO PROVIDE A METHOD FOR ACHIEVING CHANGE IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM. A COMPROMISE SOLUTION WOULD BE TO FIX SENTENCES WITHIN SPECIFIC LIMITS, BUT ALLOW THE JUDICIARY LATITUDE WITHIN THESE LIMITS TO CONSIDER MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES. THE ARTICLE ALSO SUGGESTS THAT SENTENCING POLICIES BE COMPOSED BY AN INTERDISCIPLINARY BODY AND PERIODICALLY REVIEWED TO REFLECT PROGRESS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES. CRITICISM OF THE PAROLE SYSTEM AND THE PRESENTENCE REPORT WILL PROBABLY INCREASE AND PAROLE OFFICERS SHOULD EXPLORE NEW AREAS FOR INVOLVEMENT, SUCH AS SERVICES FOR EX-PRISONERS AND COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONAL PROGRAMS. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Australia; Determinate Sentencing; Judicial decisions; Mandatory Sentencing; Presentence investigations; Presentence studies; Sentencing/Sanctions; United States of America
Note: NO 13 IN THE DEPARTMENT'S RESEARCH AND INFORMATION SERIES PRESENTED AT AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF CRIMINOLOGY SEMINAR ON PRE-SENTENCE REPORTS, CANBERRA, ACT (AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY), SEPTEMBER 20-24, 1976
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63333

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