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Research Paper Structured Sentencing Promising to get tough on crime has become popular with politicians and much of the public But in the late 1980s North Carolina came to realize that the promise can carry a high price resulting in expensive prison-building programs diminished space for violent offenders a mismatch between sentences and actual time served violations of federal decrees on prison overcrowding and ultimately a broad failure of public confidence in the judicial and corrections systems Not long ago North Carolinas prison cells were filling up at an increasing rate each day but they held too many of the wrong people--nonviolent low-priority felons The sentencing system that was in effect was erratic and uneven Offenders served very small portions of the sentences that judges imposed A typical offender after remaining in detention for several weeks or months between the time of arrest and the judges imposition of sentence after conviction often had no time remaining to be served on the sentence US This often happened for individuals with a relatively serious felony So the problem that evolved was the Parole Commission had to release many of the offenders shortly after their sentence was imposed The Parole Commission could not keep all the inmates that should be in jail because of over crowding in the prisons NC The problems of the system also extended to probation restitution and other non-prison punishments The threatened prison time for violating non-prison sanctions was so short that it did not deter the probation violations Most individuals would rather spend a couple of days in jail rather then going through treatment programs and having to answer to a probation officer for years SPAC To overcome these problems the State of North Carolina followed recommendations from the states Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission to establish a Structured Sentencing System The North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission consists of a twenty-eight-member body created to provide recommendations
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