Glossary of Corrections: Chapter 5
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- Aggravating Circumstances
- Events or conditions that make an offense more serious than it might otherwise be. When aggrevating circumstances, like mutilating the murder victim, are present in a crime, juries or judges can often increase the penalty that would ortherwise be applied to the convicted offender. Contrast with MITIGATING.
- A specific sentence, or more often a condition of probation, that requires the offender to compensate the community or the victim for harm that was done. When the compensation in in the form of a money payment, it is financial restiution. When the compensation is in the form of work, it is often called community service.
- Concurrent Sentencing
- A sentencing strategy that gives an offender a specific punishment, such as a number of years in prison, on several different charges or counts, but all the sentences are allowed to be served at the same time.
- Customary Courts
- Also called "native courts," the customary courts operating in some African countries have limited jurisdiction in criminal matters, but are important because they make use of the African tradition of compensation or restitution.
- Day Fine
- A financial penalty type of sentence that links the penalty's amount to both the seriousness of the offense and to the offenders financial situation.
- Determinate Sentencing
- A sentencing system in which the convicted offender is given a fixed penalty, such as three years in prison. In contrast to INDETERMINATE SENTENCING, determinate sentencing provides for little discretion as to when a prisoner is released.
- Earned Good Time
- The time deducted from a sentence. When the deduction is due to positive behavior by the inmate, it is earned good time.
- A sentence requiring the convicted offender to pay the court an amount of money as the penalty for misbehavior.
- Good Time
- The time deducted from a sentence.
- Indeterminate Sentencing
- A sentencing system in which the convicted offender recieves a penalty that covers a time range rather than a flat period. Unlike, DETERMINATE SENTENCING, which requires a sentence for a specific time, indeterminate sentencing gives corrections officials some discretion as to when a person's sentence should be completed-earlier when good behavior and personal improvment is shown, and later when rehabilitation is not apparent.
- Informal Sanctions
- Sanctions are informal when applied by someone acting without offical standing.
- Jail Time
- The period a defendent spends in jail while awaiting trial and/or sentencing. In some jurisdictions this jail time is deducted from the convicted offender's eventual sentence.
- Mandatory Minimum Sentence
- A broad category of sentencing types that requires judges to impose specific sentences. "THREE STRIKES AND YOU'RE OUT" laws is an example of manditory minimum sentences.
- Mandatory Sentences
- A broad category of sentencing types that requires judges to impose specific sentences. When the judge is required to impose a prison term, for persons convicted of certain felonies, a mandatory sentence is being given.
- Meritorious Good Time
- The time deducted from a sentence. When the sentence is automatically given all prisoners serving their sentence without problems
- Mitigating Circumstances
- Events or conditions that make an offense less serious than it might otherwise be. When mitigating circumstances, such as, culpability of a younger offender who acted at the urging of older offenders, are presnet in a crime, juries or judges can often decrease the penalty that would otherwise be applied to the convicted offender. Contrast with AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES.
- Presumptive Sentencing
- A contemporary sentencing system that uses the fixed penalty aspect of DETERMIANTE SENTENCING, but expands on determinate sentencing by adding the presumption that there is a relation between a crime and its sentence. Because of that relationship, judges should be handing down similar senteces for simialr crimes.
- The process of assigning a penalty (a sentence) on a person convicted of a crime. Sentencing is usually accomplished by a judge but in some jurisdictions or cases may be the work of a jury.
- Sentencing Grid
- A technique used in some jurisdictions to make determinate sentencingand presumptive sentencing more consistent among judges by providing a sentencing grid that directs judges towards a desired punishment.
- Sentencing Guidlines
- A technique used in some jurisdictions to make determinate sentencingand presumptive sentencing more consistent among judges by providing a sentencing grid that directs judges towards a desired punishment. The guidlines found on the grid simply suggest possible sentences to the judge or, in other jurisdictions, require the judge to abide by the guidlines range.
- Statutory Good Time
- The time deducted from a sentence. When the deduction is automatically given all prisoners serving their sentence without problems.
- Statutory Penalty
- Refers to the penalty (usually a range from minimum to maximum) that legislators set for each crime. When a judge imposes a sentence, that sentence must fall within any minimum or maximum penalty that the legislature has specified by law (Statute) cannot have their cases heard by a juvenile court.
- Tariff (Or fixed-fine) System
- A financial penalty type that imposes same or similar fine amounts on all defendants convicted of a particualr offense. Compare with DAY FINE.
- "Three Strikes and You're Out"
- Based on the belief that more sever punishment should follow subsequent felony convictions, some states have passed mandatory setencing laws that call an offender "out" (i.e. sentenced to life in prison) after a certain number of "strikes" (i.e. prior convictions). Tje title three strikes is commonly used although jurisdictions vary in terms of how manu chances or strikes an offender is given.
- Victim-Offender Mediation
- The aspect of restorative justice in which a neutral party (the mediator) intervenes in order to help the disputants (the victime and the offender0 reach an agreement about how best to reconcile the harm done to the victim.
- Truh In Sentencing
- When legislation excludes certain offenders from being considered for parole or requires a certain percentage of a prison term to be served.
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