Truth and Sentencing Debate

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Truth-in -Sentencing Debate
Truth in sentencing law deter crime

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. During the 1990s, throughout the states and in the federal government there was considerable legislative activity related to truth in sentencing. By 1999, 41 states and the District of Columbia had passed laws or implemented some form of truth in sentencing, but the forms of truth in sentencing varied among the states.

Truth in sentencing law deters crime by showing offenders that regardless of things such as good behavior or time served the possibility of early release is unlikely. My state of Maryland unlike other state does not have a truth in sentencing law put into place. Some states have eliminated parole release for good behavior or work time credits to impose determinate sentences, which permits relatively precise release dates, assuming that good time credits were earned.

Other states have retained parole release, potentially introducing ambiguity into actual release dates. This is supposed to increase the certainty about a minimum amount of time that must be served prior to release. There was a case of drug trafficking in the Baltimore Jail around this time last year if Maryland had a truth in sentencing law in place the offend would not have been eligible for parole or early release after doing 75% of their 9 year sentence. Since they don’t the offender can be eligible for parole by the 7th year of prison.

Most states required that offenders serve at least 85 percent of their imposed sentences, but the percentage requirements ranged from 25 percent to 100 percent. When I think about the requirement for length of time served time I think about how haw difficult that makes truth in sentencing to deter crime. For example…...

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