Disparity, Humaneness and the Politics of Reform: An Analysis of the Determinant Sentence
Determinate sentencing is one of the most widely advocated contemporary criminal justice reforms. The impetus for reform is provided by increased fear of crime, the failure of rehabilitation and the inequities of sentence disparity. However, fixed sen tencing models also have serious shortcomings. First, it is unlikely that the removal of parole release discretion will substantially reduce sentence disparity. Much of current disparity is related to urban-rural discrepancies and differences in prosecutorial charging and bargaining patterns. These are not changed by fixed-sentence reform. Second, the operation of "good-time" provisions of determinate models and the de emphasis on treatment programming may ultimately have serious implications for the humaneness of imprisonment under this reform model. Finally, the current repressive political environment makes it likely that this reform will create increasingly harsh sentences. While it is clear that current patterns of sentencing need reform, alternatives to judically-determined sentences should be developed to meet the need.
John D. Hewitt and Todd Clear. "Disparity, Humaneness and the Politics of Reform: An Analysis of the Determinant Sentence" Criminal Justice Review 3 (1978): 81-90.