For Truth in Sentencing

Topics: Prison, Crime, Law Pages: 2 (387 words) Published: June 24, 2013
For Truth In Sentencing
Christina Hillebrant

Truth in sentencing, or TIS, is not a new concept. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (1999), “First enacted in 1984, TIS laws require offenders to serve a substantial portion of their prison sentence. Parole eligibility and good-time credits are restricted or eliminated.”

Before 1984, states had indeterminate sentencing. This was common in the late 60's and early 70's. Because of pressure to enact longer sentences and some sort of uniform punishment, states introduced determinate sentencing, and mandatory minimum sentences. However, prisoners were being released early because of prison over crowding, good behavior, and time earned for good-time. Congress intervened, and enacted the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, to ensure that offenders were serving the majority of their sentence. This act authorized money for more jails and prisons. In 1998, grants were awarded to states that met the criteria for the Truth-In-Sentencing Program. This was to serve as an incentive. Both for those states who had already adopted the Truth-In-Sentencing Program, and for those states who hadn't yet, to adopt the program.

Truth in sentencing is a way of cracking down on people who break the law, and came about as a response to the nation's “get tough on crime” attitude. Truth in sentencing does deter crime. Most people will think twice before committing a crime when they are aware that they will not receive a light sentence for their crime. Even if an offender were to receive a 5 year sentence, they would serve at least 85% of that sentence in most states. Several states also require supervision of some sort, even after the sentence has been completed. For example, Wisconsin requires “Effective December 31, 1999, two-part sentence: offenders serve 100% of the prison term and a sentence of extended supervision at 25% of the prison sentence,” according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (1999)....
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