Commentary

A NEW YEAR’S VISION: EVIDENCE-BASED SENTENCING FOR ALL

FORMER SERVICEMAN STANDS BEFORE "VETERANS' COURT" JUDGE

FORMER SERVICEMAN STANDS BEFORE “VETERANS’ COURT” JUDGE

It is the New Year and so it is customary to envision what we should accomplish in the the next year. Instead, allow me to envision a new evience-based sentencing system in place across the U.S. Let’s assume for a moment that only those truly deserving remain in prison or jail (hypothetically a fraction of those currently incarcerated). That would leave the Sentencing Judges with the critical task od deciding what do they do with those who commit criminal offenses. How would they sentence those convicted of a crime in a fair, humane and rational manner.

Actually the antecedents of such a sentencing system  go back more than 25 years to the dawn of the Drug Court era. It was widely understood that the sentencing and supervision of drug offenders wasn’t working. There was little coordination in the court’s dealing with the drug offender, the offender rarely saw the same judge or court personnel twice, there was little court or offender accountability and altogether inadequate rehabilitation services available.(Monograph No.2, of the 1999 NDCI Monograph Series, “Drug Court Systems”, Jeffrey Tauber)

Following the example of the Drug Court, our futuristic sentencing system would have the same judge and court team deal with the sentenced offender (to the extent possible), as part of a seamless supervision, treatment, and rehabilitation system, that runs from sentencing, through custody, through community supervision, to the very conclusion of the case. Continue reading

NCCD: Prison and Jail Alternatives Could Save Nation $10 Billion

In a publication issued on January 10, the National Council of Crime and Delinquency  found that,”as a nation, we can save an estimated $9.7 billion dollars as an initial installment on ongoing and significant annual savings by changing how we handle a portion of the lowest-level offenders in our systems. As of 2008, there were 413,693 men and women incarcerated for nonviolent, nonsexual crimes that don’t involve significant property loss. The vast majority of these could be eligible for effective and cost-saving sanctions such as drug courts, electronic monitoring, or work release programs.” Click here for NCCD document, The Extravagance of Prison Revisited.