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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76923 Find in a Library
Title: Proportionality and Determinate Sentencing (From Juvenile Justice Standards Symposium, P 592-676, 1979 - See NCJ-76912)
Author(s): L G Arthur
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 85
Type: Conference Material
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A symposium presentation by a juvenile court judge and subsequent discussion focus on the issue of proportionality of sanctions and determinate sentencing for juveniles, with emphasis on three sets of proposed standards on the subject.
Abstract: The proposed standards include those of the Institute for Judicial Administration/American Bar Association Joint Commission, the National Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the National Task Force to Develop Standards and Goals for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The current controversy over the efficacy and fairness of the juvenile court is largely based on disenchantment with efforts at rehabilitation and the resulting belief that rehabilitation never works. Thus, one proposed reform is to make the sanction proportional to the seriousness of the offense. The proposed standards all opt for limiting the discretion of the judge on the basis of offense, not the offender. Although the standards propose only the maximum sentence which may be imposed for each class of offense, they could be the first step in the push for full proportionality and elimination of judicial discretion regarding dispositions. This would be the complete antithesis of the juvenile court philosophy and would use private sessions of plea bargaining to auction the years of offenders' lives. However, children are not small adults, and they can be rehabilitated, even against their wills. Nevertheless, the juvenile justice system has operated with too few guidelines, too little interest by the bar, too little appellate oversight, and too little accountability, particularly in its correctional programs. The standards present a clear choice between individualized justice and the adversary system in a judicial context on the one hand and a system of legislative sentencing administered through plea bargaining on the other. The discussion evoked diverse views regarding the desirability of proportionality and the possibility of alternative means to control discretion. Footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Determinate Sentencing; Judicial discretion; Juvenile justice standards; Law reform; Sentencing guidelines
Note: This document is available on microfiche under NCJ number 76912.
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