travis back end sentencing

travis back end sentencing - Jeremy Travis Back-End...

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Jeremy Travis Back-End Sentencing: A Practice in Search of a Rationaie THE PHENOMENON OF BACK-END SENTENCING—THE PRACTICE OF SEND- ing people back to prison for violations of the terms of their parole supervision—has grovm significantly over recent years and now occu- pies a prominent role in the new realities of incarceration and prisoner reentry (Travis and Christiansen 2006; Travis 2005; Travis and Lawrence, 2002a). In 1980, approximately 27,000 people were sent to back to prison for violating the terms of their parole. By 2000, that number had grovra to over 200,000. America now sends more people to prison for parole violations than were sent to prison in 1980 for any reason, including commitments on new convictions and parole violations. The growth in back-end sentencing has far outstripped the overall groM^h in incarcer- ation in America. The per capita rate of incarceration increased slightly more than fourfold between 1973 and 2000; over the same period of time, the growth in incarcerations for parole violations grew sevenfold. Another perspective on back-end sentencing illustrates the impact of the robust practice of parole revocation on America's prisons. In 1980, 18 percent of all prison admissions were individuals who were being retumed on parole violations; by 2000, that number had increased to 34 percent. The new reality that one in three people coming in the fi-ont door of our prisons had relatively recently left through the back door underscores the importance of the efforts now under way to rethink the efficacy and purposes of parole supervision (Petersilia, 2003). social research Vol 74 : No 2 : Summer 2007 631
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THE NEXUS BETWEEN PAROLE REVOCATION AND SENTENCING Some may criticize the use ofthe word "sentencing" to describe the revo- cation of parole for violation ofthe conditions of supervision. Sentencing, they would say, is the act of imposing sanctions for criminal behavior, proven in a court following a trial or plea of guilty. What happens in the parole violation context, the critique might continue, is merely the continuing application of that original sentence. In other words, the process of adjudicating the violation of terms of parole release, includ- ing a retum to prison in some cases, is part ofthe original sentence. The defendant knew—and everyone else knew—at the time of sentence that following the release from prison, he would be subjected to a term of supervision, with conditions, and failure to abide by those conditions could result in a removal from the community and deprivation of liberty. Certainly it is unassailable to assert that the process of adjudicat- ing parole violations is recognized as flowing from the original convic- tion and sentence. Stated differently, the only reason that the former prisoner is subjected to this process is because ofthe original conviction and sentence. But the conceptual and operational similarities between the two systems are, to me, so compelling that I see every reason—and
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travis back end sentencing - Jeremy Travis Back-End...

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