Truth In Sentencing

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In 1994, Congress passed the Truth-in-Sentencing Incentive Grants law. Truth-in-Sentencing laws were put into place to help reduce the possibility of an inmate being able to have early release from incarceration. Each state has their own policies, rules and regulations for inmate release. The truth-in-sentencing law requires that offenders serve the majority of their prison sentence imposed by the court in order to be eligible for release. Previous policies included reducing the amount of time the offender served on a sentence, such as good behavior, earn time, and the parole board made a decision to release an inmate. These policies were restricted or stopped when the truth-in-sentencing law came into effect. Abadinsky, Howard, Probation…show more content…
Previous policies which reduced the amount of time an offender served on a sentence, such as good behavior, earned-time and parole board release, are restricted or eliminated under truth-in-sentencing laws. The definition of truth in sentencing varies among the States, as do the percent of sentence required to be served and the crimes covered by the laws. Most States have targeted violent offenders under truth in sentencing law. A few States, such as Florida, Mississippi, and Ohio, require all offenders to serve a substantial amount of their sentence before they can be eligible for…show more content…
A few other States have abolished parole board release for certain violent or felony offenders (Alaska, New York, Tennessee, and Virginia) or for certain crimes against a person (Louisiana). California still allows discretionary release by a parole board only for offenders with indeterminate life sentences. In general, States still have the right to restrict the possibility of parole board release based on the offender’s criminal history or their circumstances of the offense that they did.
While discretionary release from prison by a parole board has been eliminated by some States, post-release supervision still exists and is generally referred to as community or supervised release. Parole boards, in various forms, have the responsibility to set conditions of release for offenders under conditional or supervised release, the authority to return an offender to prison for violating the conditions of parole or supervised release, and the power to grant parole for medical reasons. As a result of truth-in-sentencing practices, the State prison population is expected to increase through the incarceration of more offenders by keeping them incarcerated for longer periods of time.

Abadinsky, Howard, Probation and Parole, Theory and Practice, St. John’s University, Pearson, Twelfth

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