Sentencing and the Formation of a Sentencing Commission

Position Paper

Position: 1. CPOC supports the formation of a sentencing commission and, 2. CPOC supports a sentencing model which:

  • Is built on real truth in sentencing
  • Redefines “punishment” to include probation and other non-incarceration sanctions
  • Is unbiased, understandable, consistent and expedient
  • Focuses on deterrence and public protection as well as punishment
  • Goes forward only after probation has provided full, objective, relevant information
  • Addresses victims’ issues
  • Enhances judicial discretion
  • Professionalizes and depoliticizes sentencing

Summary of issues: The commission’s mandate would be to design a new sentencing system and then to serve as a standing commission to study, review, revise, and change the sentencing model. the commission would not make individual sentencing decisions or review individual cases. It would not set specific, crime by crime sentencing guidelines, but would revisit the whole sentencing design and revise the system in a way which emphasizes judicial discretion and case by case decision making. Information on existing sentencing commission models must be gathered. A new sentencing model which includes intermediate sanctions will reduce the number of people going to prison and thus will reduce the cost of state corrections. The dollars saved must be allocated to local probation departments for intermediate sanctions.

The commission must be multi-disciplinary and broad based with membership to include but be limited to:

  • Probation/CPOs
  • District Attorneys
  • Judges
  • Law Enforcement
  • Public Members
  • Mental Health
  • Defense Bar
  • Drug and Alcohol Services
  • Victims Groups or Crime Victims
  • Community Services
  • Legislature compliance with recognized standards