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December 11, 2006

In support of indeterminate sentencing

In this recent post, I noted a Texas report touting the virtues of parole in a modern state sentencing system.  On a related front, thanks to the always terrific Corrections Sentencing, I see that the Utah Sentencing Commission has issued this fascinating statement in support of the state's indeterminate sentencing system.  Here is the statement's executive summary:

By avoiding precise and fixed sentencing and release determinations, Utah's primary sentencing interests are best protected. An offender's release from incarceration is contingent on the individual nature of the crime committed, mitigating and aggravating circumstances associated with the criminal offense, past criminal history, the offender's conduct in the prison system, and proven amenability to rehabilitation over time. Our indeterminate system preserves control over the offender and enables a careful evaluation of the offender prior to releasing him back into the community.

Perhaps Utah ought to be a model for Congress if it ever decides that a Booker fix is needed for the federal sentencing system.

December 11, 2006 at 01:40 PM | Permalink

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Comments

A few years back, California's Determinate Sentencing Law was declared a failure by the person who signed it: former Gov. and AG-elect Jerry Brown:

http://www.oaklandnet.com/government/mayor/press-releases/LATIMES.pdf

I agree that indeterminate sentencing has its uses. For violent sex offenders, all should receive indeterminate terms, and then we could dispense with the civil commitments which are problematic for many reasons.

On the other hand, it would be a mistake to go all the way back. We got rid of the old law for good reasons, and complete discretion with no structure is a recipe for arbitrariness.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Dec 11, 2006 7:24:45 PM

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