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Expanding Sentencing Options - A Governor's Perspective

NCJ Number
P S Du Pont
Date Published
5 pages
Delaware Governor Pierre du Pont presents a sentencing reform proposal intended to reduce prison overcrowding by expanding sentencing options and introducing greater accountability for offenders and the corrections system.
The sentencing proposal would establish a range of sentencing options over 10 'levels of accountability,' from unsupervised probation (Level I) to maximum-security imprisonment (Level X). The levels between the two extremes provide for progressively more restriction. Only the last two levels involve full-time incarceration. The other levels permit varying degrees of mobility in the community. Each level contains degrees of control and accountability which pertain to mobility in the community, amount of supervision, privileges, and financial sanctions (including probation fees). Although the sentencing judge determines the initial level into which an offender is placed, corrections officials have the discretion not only to set the degree of control within that level but also to shift the offender to a less restrictive accountability level based on offender rehabilitative progress. The proposed sentencing system is presented in a chart, and hypothetical cases are used to illustrate system operation.