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Determinate Sentencing Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of Determinate and Indeterminate Sentencing

❶If he faked everything, however, this early release is just going to release a criminal into society due to the flaws that indeterminate sentencing has. Practice Area Please select




So, a predetermined standard sentence is given out, no matter what the identity, race, or religion of the accused is. There are no factors which can influence the guidelines of the sentencing of conviction. This means that, the defendant going to trial knows about the exact consequences of pleading or being found guilty. This saves the time of the court. Since the consequences of these crimes are common knowledge, a person thinking about committing a crime can weigh the results of such illegal actions.

This can act as a deterrent, i. The main problem with determinate sentencing is that, there is no flexibility to the punishment. The judge is not able to consider the defendant's mental state, testimony, background, and circumstances of the crime. This means that, overcrowding of jail and prison facilities is likely to happen.

Determinate sentencing also costs a lot, as the expense for housing a prisoner for one year is more than what is required for the average household. Millions of dollars can be saved by instituting individual sentencing for all crimes. Because minimum mandatory sentences can be unfair towards the accused, the judge or jury can get tempted to circumvent their duties to help the convict from getting an excessive punishment. The laws of determinate sentencing are very complex, which make them difficult to understand.

This can cause the judge to make errors, like imposing wrong penalties. While indeterminate sentencing is subject to bias in the trial, determinate sentencing has a few problems as well. Even though finding the right balance in a determinate sentence is not always a perfect and easy process, it is very important in maintaining the security of society. Explanation of Mandatory Sentencing. Different Branches of Law. Popular French Last Names. Determinate sentencing occurs when a judge must sentence a convicted offender to a standard sentence that is dictated by the law.

There are some pros and cons of determinate sentencing that may start to change your mind about this practice. Determinate sentencing takes any question of bias out of the sentencing portion of a trial. There is no question about whether a judge likes someone or not. The standard sentence is handed down, no matter who that person is, what race they are, or what religion they follow.

Because there are no variables that change the sentencing guidelines of these convictions, someone going to trial will know immediately what their outcome will be if they are found guilty or plead guilty. As opposed to indeterminate term where a prisoner can be released when granted parole for good behavior while another can remain behind bars when not granted one, determinate sentencing prevents discrimination and ensures all offenders are paying for their crimes.

This also ensures that no prisoner stays in jail longer than he or she should. Saves Court Time and Money. People who find determinate sentencing appealing posit that since the length of prison sentence is already determined for offenses, it will be easier for the court to hand its decision since no outside factors and can influence the guidelines in sentencing of convicted criminals.

Whether the judge likes the guilty criminal or not, jail time will not depend on the personal preference of the judge. This also saves money since court hearings will be faster and there will be no appeals for the sentence. With potential criminals knowing how long they will be removed from society and living behind bars, this can lead to lesser people being tempted to commit crimes especially if the crime is punishable with life sentences without the possibility of parole.

In a nutshell, this can serve as a deterrent to potential criminals. Opponents of this type of sentencing say that criminals are imprisoned not only for them to pay for the crimes they have committed but also to be rehabilitated. If a sentence is already fixed and cannot be changed, it might be that the duration of the sentence will not suffice to correct the behavior of the hardened criminals.

Critics of determinate sentencing argue that it is costly rather than practical since without the possibility of parole, there will be more people in jail since the number of months or years served by offenders cannot be shortened.


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An indeterminate sentence is a system in which every crime has a minimum and a maximum time to serve as punishment for the individual that committed that crime, and this will depend on the individual needs of the individual himself.

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Learn what constitutes indeterminate sentencing. Review the definition of indeterminate sentencing and learn about the pros and cons of this type of sentencing.

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Pros and Cons of Determinate and Indeterminate Sentencing Indeterminate sentencing used to be the rule in every state and for the federal courts as well. Crimes usually carried a maximum sentence, but judges were free to choose among various options—imprisonment, probation, and fines. This lesson will define determinate sentencing in our criminal justice system, state pros and cons associated with its use, and provide a brief explanation of alternatives.

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Indeterminate sentencing is when a convict is sentenced to a minimum and maximum sentence, with the maximum usually being life in cases typically getting this label. The Cons of Determinate Sentencing. The main issue with determinate sentencing is that there are no options available. Someone can make a legitimate mistake, not realize that something is against the law, and receive a long sentence because of it.