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Structured Sentencing in North Carolina - Essay Example

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Name: University: Course: Tutor: Date: Structured sentencing in North Carolina Introduction Structured sentencing is a mechanism of punishing and sentencing criminals in North Carolina (Tonry 84). The method provides for grading of offenders according to the criminal record and severity of the criminal act committed by the offender (North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission 1)…
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Structured Sentencing in North Carolina
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Download file to see previous pages Less severe crimes that do not involve victim body injury or threat to body injury is assigned lowest classes while crimes involving victim injury is assigned highest classes. Misdemeanor crimes are classified in to four categories (Class AI, Class I, Class 2 and Class 3). Class AI is the most serious while Class 3 is the least serious misdemeanor crime (Tonry 86). Structured sentencing is based on several core principles. One of the principles is rationality of the sentence. The sentencing should consider the severity of the offense as indicated by the harm suffered by the victim and also the criminal record of the offender. Another principle is truthfulness. Early parole releases should be avoided since the jail term should be closed related to the sentence imposed by the courts. Another principle of structured sentencing is consistency. The sentence received by offenders with similar prior criminal record and convicted for the same offense should be the same. The last principle is resource prioritization (North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission 3). The sentencing should be accompanied by adequate prison and community-based resources. Prisons and jail terms should take priority for violent crimes or repeat offenders while community-based rehabilitation programs should first be utilized for the non-violent crimes, and for offenders with no prior criminal record (Tonry 86). Felon offenses are classified in to six prior record levels starting from Level I for offenders with no prior criminal conviction to Level VI for severe felonies involving violence and numerous prior criminal records, and convictions (Tonry 89). Structured sentencing in North Carolina has three sentencing levels. The levels include the active sentencing that involve jail terms, intermediate sentencing that involve supervised probation and community sentencing that may involve community service, restitution and fines. Active sentencing is done for high offense classes and felonies with numerous prior records. Judges may impose active, community punishment or intermediate punishment for convictions of Class AI misdemeanors regardless of the past criminal record. Class 1, 2 and 3 misdemeanors, the Judge may impose a community punishment regardless of the prior criminal history (North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission 8). Offenders serving a jail term of more than 90 days are incarcerated at the State prison system while those serving less than 90 days of jail term, are incarcerated in County jail system (Tonry 73). Intermediate punishment requires the offenders to undergo supervised probation. The first type of intermediate punishment is the split sentence, whereby the convict will serve a jail term followed and later undergo supervised probation (Tonry 85). Another type is the Electronic house arrest whereby the convicted offender will be confined in one area and monitored through the use of computer technology. The third type is intensive supervision where the convicted offender is closely supervised and monitored. The fourth type is the residential center, which is a highly structured program requiring overnight residence of the convicted offender. Another type of intermediate punishment is the Day reporting center, this involve a highly structured and close supervision program during the day and in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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