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Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER EIGHT SENTENCING."— Presentation transcript:


2 Introduction Government determines sanction range for each offense
Judge or jury responsible for sentencing Broad range of potential criminal sentences Probation, fines, community service Incarceration Death Penalty

3 Responsibility for Sentencing Decisions
Prosecuting and Defense Attorneys Initial charges define sentencing options Plea bargaining implies a suggested sentence Probation officer prepares pre-sentence investigation report Ultimate decision rests with the judge Must agree to plea bargaining May prescribe any sentence consistent with legislative guidelines Jury must determine sentencing in capital cases Jury determines liability and compensation in civil cases

4 Misdemeanor Sentences
Probation Community Service Fines Incarceration

5 Probation Period of supervision by the corrections system
Elements of probation Criminal sentence Judicial function Conditional Supervision by probation officers Types of probation Active—offender reports to a probation officer and must abide by court- imposed conditions Informal (summary)—probation without supervision

6 Community Service Goal is to minimize negative effects while giving back to the community Potential services Cleaning parks Removing graffiti Washing public vehicles Working at an animal shelter Many others

7 Fines Primarily for traffic violations and petty misdemeanors
Not all people have the same ability to pay Some courts have day fine systems, in which fine is determined by: Penalty days Individual’s income

8 Incarceration Petty misdemeanors: up to 6 months in jail
Serious misdemeanors: 6 months to 1 year in jail Judge may suspend jail time Judge may impose consecutive misdemeanor sentences

9 Felony Sentences Community-Based Sanctions Probation
Economic Sanctions Incarceration Capital Punishment

10 Community-Based Sanctions
Placement in a live-in facility Provides treatment and structure for offenders Probation Often used for property or drug offenses Fewer felons have received probation in recent years Economic Sanctions Increasing reliance by the court system Often used for crimes with a profit motive (drug trafficking, RICO) Includes fines and property forfeiture May be used alone or in conjunction with other punishments

11 Incarceration Shock Incarceration May be incarcerated in a local jail
Short period of incarceration, followed by an extended probation period Designed as a specific deterrence May be incarcerated in a local jail Sentences of 1 year to life Average sentence is 57 months Violent offenders more likely to receive prison sentences

12 Capital Punishment Controversial issue
Part of sentencing scheme since nation’s founding State decides whether death penalty is permissible Involves a bifurcated hearing process Juries must consider aggravating and mitigating circumstances Jury verdicts must be unanimous

13 Sentencing Decision Making Process
Prosecuting Attorneys Decision whether to prosecute Decision about what crimes to charge Horizontal overcharging: charging defendant with as many different offenses or counts as possible Vertical overcharging: charging a defendant with a more serious crime than the evidence supports Gives the prosecutor an advantage in plea bargaining Judges Choice among legislatively-defined sentences Decision to suspend the sentence Choice of concurrent or consecutive sentences

14 Sentencing Strategies Employed
Indeterminate Sentencing Determinate Sentencing Structured Sentencing Mandatory Sentencing

15 Indeterminate Sentencing
Minimum and maximum periods of confinement specified Emphasizes individualization and rehabilitation Judge imposes sentence Actual time serve determined by parole board

16 Determinate Sentencing
Provides a specific amount of time to be served Discretionary parole is abolished Release date is established by court sentence minus good time credit Movement toward determinate sentencing resulted from political criticism

17 Structured Sentencing
Sentencing guidelines define sentences for each crime Utilizes a 2-dimensional sentencing grid Present offense Defendant’s criminal history Other factors (age, race, socio-economic status, drug use, employment history, etc) are not considered Goals Allows policymakers to control sentencing policies Can be linked to available prison space Promotes development and expansion of community corrections alternatives Attempts to eliminate disparities in sentencing

18 Mandatory Sentencing All states and the federal government have some form of mandatory sentencing Assures that certain offenders receive a specified prison term Habitual offender laws Constitutional challenges

19 Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Sentencing
Minorities Debate over disproportionate sentencing for minorities Blacks constitute 12.8% of population and 38% of convicted felons Whites constitute the majority of all felon categories except weapons offenses Gender Women constitute 50.7% of the population and 18% of convicted felons Women most often commit property crimes, drug offenses, and “other” felonies Reasons for underrepresentation of women Women are better at the crimes they commit and escape apprehension Women are less likely to commit crimes Criminal justice system is less likely to sanction women (chivalry hypothesis)

20 Trends in Sentencing Movement toward determinate sentencing
Sentencing guidelines Increased punitiveness Truth in sentencing Capital Punishment


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