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NCJ Number: 68019 Find in a Library
Title: DETERMINATE SENTENCES - A TRIAL JUDGE'S REACTION
Journal: YOUTH AUTHORITY QUARTERLY  Volume:30  Issue:2  Dated:(SUMMER 1977)  Pages:7-12
Author(s): C SMALL
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: DESPITE THREE RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES IN CALIFORNIA LAW, THE DILEMMA OF PUNISHMENT VERSUS REHABILITATION CONTINUES. A MOVEMENT TOWARD LONG-TERM IMPROVEMENTS IN THE SYSTEM IS NEEDED.
Abstract: SENATE BILL 42 HOLDS THAT THE CONSEQUENCES OF CRIME MUST BE FIXED AT THE TIME OF CONVICTION BY JUDGMENT AND SENTENCE, AND THAT AN INMATE'S BEHAVIOR AFTER COMMITMENT WILL DO RELATIVELY LITTLE TO EITHER HELP OR HURT HIM. MOREOVER, THE CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT HAS HELD THAT AN INMATE COMMITTED TO THE YOUTH AUTHORITY AS A YOUNG ADULT UPON A MISDEMEANOR CONVICTION CANNOT BE INCARCERATED LONGER THAN AN ADULT OFFENDER CAN BE DETAINED IN THE COUNTY JAIL UPON THE SAME CONVICTION. A THIRD MAJOR VECTOR IN THE CORRECTIONS FIELD SUBSTANTIALLY RECASTS JUVENILE COURT LAW, IMPLYING A LEGISLATIVE DETERMINATION TO EXPOSE SERIOUS JUVENILE OFFENDERS TO PROCESSING IN THE SAME MANNER AS ADULT CRIMINALS, AT LEAST TO THE EXTENT OF TRIAL IN A CRIMINAL DEPARTMENT RATHER THAN A JUVENILE COURT. HOWEVER, NO UNIFYING REASON UNDERLIES THESE CHANGES. THE CONFLICT OF CORRECTIONAL PHILOSOPHIES POSES REHABILITATION AGAINST RETRIBUTION WITH NO RESPECT FOR THE VIABILITY OF BOTH. EACH TRIAL COURT ADOPTS ITS OWN SOLUTIONS, MODULATING EXTREME PRACTICES TO ACCOMMODATE MEDIUM TERMS, WITHOUT REGARD TO THEIR APPROPRIATENESS, AND INITIATING LENGTHY HEARINGS IN RESPONSE TO NEW RULINGS. ADDITIONALLY, THE NEW LEGISLATION RENDERS IT VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO RUN MINORS THROUGH AN ADEQUATE PROGRAM WHERE THE OCCASION FOR THE COURT'S INTERVENTION IS A MISDEANOR ONLY. ALSO, IN THE ABSENCE OF THE CORRECTIONAL STAFF'S LEVERAGE OF AUTHORITY IN DETERMINING AN INMATE'S ELIGIBILITY FOR RELEASE, PRISONS BECOME A TRAINING SCHOOL FOR YOUNG CRIMINALS WHO GAIN THEIR EDUCATION AND SELF-PERCEPTION FROM FELLOW INMATES. ONE FORTUNATE BYPRODUCT IS THAT JUDGES AND PROSECUTORS WILL BE UNDER MORE PRESSURE TO EXPLAIN AND INTERPRET THE CORRECTIONAL PROCESS TO THEIR CONSTITUENTS. OVERALL, THE PUBLIC WOULD BE BEST SERVED IF THE LEGISLATURE APPOINTED A SELECT COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE THE ENTIRE PROBLEM AND FORMULATE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A SOUND FOUNDATION OF CHANGE. REHABILITATION CAN BE ACHIEVED IF PROPER METHODS ARE EMPLOYED. NO REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): California; Correctional reform; Court reform; Custody vs treatment conflict; Determinate Sentencing; Indeterminate sentences; Law reform; Rehabilitation
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68019

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