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The Justice Academy Ten Minute Training Series The Last Chance Program: Deferred Imposition of Sentence for Misdemeanor Offenses Judge Hal Campbell, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "The Justice Academy Ten Minute Training Series The Last Chance Program: Deferred Imposition of Sentence for Misdemeanor Offenses Judge Hal Campbell, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

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2 The Justice Academy Ten Minute Training Series The Last Chance Program: Deferred Imposition of Sentence for Misdemeanor Offenses Judge Hal Campbell, Ph.D.

3 As states and the federal government continue to experience an unprecedented growth in the prison population with diminished resources, the development of alternative-based punishments both before and after incarceration have become a necessity rather than a luxury (Steen & Bandy, 2007). Also known as community-based corrections, the necessity for these alternatives and best practices comes at a time when our knowledge of those programs most effective at reducing recidivism while addressing the individual needs of the offender is at an all-time high. The Last Chance Program is an example of how the criminal justice system might approach this challenge by integrating the advice and counsel of all segments of the justice community into a systemic program that seeks to reduce recidivism and lower the cost of punishment for selected offenders. The program is centered around the judicial option of deferred imposition of sentence. The Last Chance Program

4 Philosophy of Deferred Imposition of Sentence Demonstrates flexibility by the justice system to support the efforts of the offender to alter their behavior and prescribes conditions that reflect the multivariate nature of their behavioral and lifestyle choices leading to criminality. Demonstrates a compassionate justice approach that considers the well- being of the offender and extends an opportunity to alter lifestyle habits Promotes restorative justice strategy with specific conditions of sentence Uses multifaceted sentencing approach to diminish the likelihood of recidivism by altering behavior of the offender and identifying those factors that chronically contribute to criminality Positions the court to impose maximum sentences in future cases Sends a clear message to the offender that society is about to give up on them

5 Risks of the Program Potential continued threat to the community Perceived inability by the court to balance the scales of justice Communicates a reticence by the court to impose stiffer penalties

6 Potential Rewards Lessens the burden on jail infrastructure and justice system resources Decreases costs associated with corrections, housing, and logistical requirements Extends the reach of the court for a period that exceeds the term of sentence Provides the court with the ability to address the multivariate nature of the criminality Discontinued association with selected peers May impose a requirement for the offender to participate in drug and alcohol treatment May impose psychological counseling or anger management treatment Facilitates the ability of the offender to maintain employment Provides a mechanism for restitution through continued employment

7 Implementation Strategy Police department endorsement of the deferred sentencing strategy Police activism and vigilance in detecting offender violations of sentencing conditions Prosecutor agreement and support for deferred sentence imposition Probation department concurrence with sentencing parameters and conditions of release Community stakeholder concurrence to support the conditions of continued release Creation of a seamless mechanism for the reporting of violations of the conditions of release

8 Multivariate Criminality Array Environmental Factors Criminal Behavior No Criminal Behavior Role Model Religious Influence Extended Family Drug Use Alcohol Peer Values Gang Affiliation Parental Values School Performance Positive Influencers bX 1 + bX 2 + bX 3 + bX 4 + bX 5 Role Models Psychological Factors Sociological Factors Personal Value Factors Behavioral Factors Hopelessness Aspiration Engagement Intelligence Peer Group Inclusion Identification

9 Montana Code Annotated Authority for Deferred Imposition of Sentence (a) Whenever a person has been found guilty of an offense upon a verdict of guilty or a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, a sentencing judge may defer imposition of sentence, except as otherwise specifically provided by statute, for a period: (i) not exceeding 1 year for a misdemeanor or for a period not exceeding 3 years for a felony; or (ii) not exceeding 2 years for a misdemeanor or for a period not exceeding 6 years for a felony if a financial obligation is imposed as a condition of sentence for either the misdemeanor or the felony, regardless of whether any other conditions are imposed Dismissal after deferred imposition. Whenever the court has deferred the imposition of sentence and after termination of the time period during which imposition of sentence has been deferred or upon termination of the time remaining on a deferred sentence under , upon motion of the court, the defendant, or the defendant's attorney, the court may allow the defendant to withdraw a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or may strike the verdict of guilty from the record and order that the charge or charges against the defendant be dismissed. A copy of the order of dismissal must be sent to the prosecutor and the department of justice, accompanied by a form prepared by the department of justice and containing identifying information about the defendant. After the charge is dismissed, all records and data relating to the charge are confidential criminal justice information, as defined in , and public access to the information may be obtained only by district court order upon good cause shown


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