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NCJ Number: 70143 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: California Justice Under Determinate Sentencing - A Review and Agenda for Research
Author(s): A J Lipson; M A Peterson
Corporate Author: Rand Corporation
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 89
Sponsoring Agency:

National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Rand Corporation
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Contract Number: 01.50.11
Publication Number: R-2497-CRB
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The background and objectives of the California determinate sentencing law are reviewed, and preliminary observations are made about its early impact, followed by suggestions for related research projects.
Abstract: July 1, 1977, was the effective date of the Calif. determinate sentencing law. The law not only established general sentencing policy, but also limited the variation in sentences, defined the principal bases for such variation, and established the specific lengths of prison terms by choosing among a narrow range of statutory options. Similarly, the law severely restricts the power of prison or parole officials to influence the length of prison terms; only by following elaborate due process procedures can they revoke limited amounts of good time. The multitude of variables impacting the California criminal justice system since July 1, 1977, make it difficult to determine which changes are attributable to the determinate sentencing law; however, the operations of the Calif. criminal justice system in the early period of determinate sentencing are described, and possible effects of the determinate sentencing law are suggested. The law extends felons greater procedural protection at the time of sentencing and while serving prison terms. Further, the law appears to have contributed to more equitable sentencing by reducing variability in the length of prison terms for those convicted of similar crimes. Since passing the new law, however, the State legislature has continued to increase imprisonment and the length of prison terms, further aggravating prison crowding. A small sample of interviewed inmates liked the certainty of sentences and term lengths established by the original law, but disliked the penalty increase amendments. The report proposes a multiple-year study of the legislature's actions affecting determinate sentencing and prisons. Tabular and graphic data and 30 references are provided.
Index Term(s): California; Determinate Sentencing; Evaluative research; Laws and Statutes
Note: Rand Publications Series
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