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NCJ Number: 98182 Find in a Library
Title: Determinate Sentencing Reform in California and Its Impact on the Penal System
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:25  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1985)  Pages:1-30
Author(s): M Davies
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 30
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Site visits and unstructured interviews with inmates and officials in 12 California prisons in spring of 1983 provide the basis for an anlysis of the impact of determinate sentencing on prison life, as well as an evaluation of California's sentencing reforms from the justice model perspective.
Abstract: The paper first reviews the 1977 legislation which altered California's sentencing system and goals of the justice model approach, including retribution rather than rehabilitation as the goal of punishment, a reduction in sentencing disparities, and extending due process rights into prisons. Interviews with 23 inmates and 39 senior management staff suggested that the determinate sentencing law had very little effect on prison life. Treatment programs had remained, although they were now voluntary and had no effect on release decisions. Reasons for the lack of change were that rehabilitation had never been a realistic option for some inmates and funding for training programs not only continued but increased. Among the staff there was a gradual shift in role and status, with the language of punishment, responsibility, and choice replacing that of therapy, counseling, and behavior modification. Psychiatrists became more involved in prison management rather than personal reformation. A negative effect of determinate sentencing was a general worsening of inmates' attitudes and behavior. The corrections system responded to this problem in 1983 with a work incentive training program allowing prisoners to earn up to one-half remission off their sentences by working. Remission days can be lost by bad behavior, and inmates' privileges are linked to work status. One result of these changes has been a massive increase in paperwork and bureaucracy within the prisons. Other topics discussed include aspects of California's penal policy which are incompatible with a justice model and prospects for a justice model approach to corrections in the United Kingdom. The paper includes 30 references.
Index Term(s): California; Corrections management; Custody vs treatment conflict; Determinate Sentencing; Drug-abusing inmates; Just deserts theory; Legislative impact; United Kingdom (UK)
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