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Truth In Sentencing Essay

2123 words - 9 pages

According to the National Institute of Justice truth in sentencing, refers to a range of sentencing practices that aim to reduce the uncertainty about the length of time that offenders must serve in prison. There has been much legislative activity related to truth in sentencing throughout the United States. “The Truth in Sentencing movement began in 1984 during the extreme overcrowding crises that plagued America during the 1980s and 1990s” (Timothy S. Carr 2008).
There were a few discrepancies between the sentences imposed by the judge and the amount of time the offender serves in prison. TIS has been put in effect to seek the disagreement. States were encouraged by the ...view middle of the document...

To be eligible to receive the grant a state shall first, submit an application to the Attorney General that demonstrates that such state has implemented truth-in-sentencing laws. Second, such states that have not yet implemented, but enacted Truth-in-sentencing laws were required no more than three years to submit an application to the Attorney General.
According to U.S. Department of Justice, Washington was the first state to enact the first truth-in-sentencing law in 1984. Department of Justice also reported that 27 of the 50 states had Truth-in-sentencing laws that met the requirements for receiving federal TIS grants. The other 23 states, including the District of Columbia did not enact a law that was required to receive the grant because prison construction would cost too much, even with the federal grant, or current sentencing practice were working for the state.
Offenders in prison for murder are expected to serve about the same amount of time of 215months. "Offenders in prison for rape are estimated to serve a minimum of 119 months in prison if sentenced under an 85% requirement. Violent offenders would serve about 10 months less under a 75% requirement than an 85 % requirement" (U.S. Department of Justice 1999).
In the past, the practice of TIS has greatly increased the time served by prisoners. For example, violent offenders released from prison in 1994 had served an average of only 46 percent of their sentence, up slightly from 44 percent and 42 percent in 1993 and 1992. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1996). With states being tougher, when it comes to sentencing and crime control strategies it appeared to be taking a heavy toll on prison populations. Butterfield stated “The prison and jail population reached 1.7 million in 1996, up approximately 7 percent per year since 1990” (Butterfield, Sept. 28, 1997).
Some influential commentator called for determinate sentencing. In 1976, California led a parade of states in enacting determinate sentencing laws (Gettinger, 1977), at the time violent offender were being released before the end of their sentence to clear prison overcrowding.
"In the late 1970s, all states did enact mandatory minimum sentences for a variety of serious crimes" (Tonry, 1996).TIS Grants for determinate and indeterminate states according to Urban Institute amendment of the TIS law in 1996 allowed states with either determinate or indeterminate sentencing structure to be awarded federal funding. In retrospect, the 1994 Crime Act, "persons convicted of violent crimes serve not less than 85 percent of the sentence imposed"(Law enforcement Act of 1994) a suggestion for states with a determinate structure. Since there was no mention of indeterminacy, the 1996 amendment defined indeterminate sentencing by granting funds to states that implement TIS within an indeterminate sentencing...

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