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Archive for Saturday, January 11, 1992

THE STRUCTURED SENTENCE PLAN

January 11, 1992

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Here are some of the major provisions of the structured sentencing bill that came out of the Kansas Legislature's interim judiciary committee:

The current sentencing system, which now allows for a wide range of sentences for each crime, would be replaced by a system of specific sentences. Judges would use a grid system to match the individual's prior criminal history and the severity of the offense to determine the sentence length. The bill has separate grids for drug and non-drug crimes.

Provisions for probation are determined with the grid system.

The bill spells out mitigating circumstances judges may use to depart from the grid to impose more severe or more lenient sentences.

Under the current system, an inmate can reduce his sentence by 50 percent by good behavior. The bill would cut that to 20 percent, but the reduced time would be added to the supervision time after the release.

The bill requires corrections officials to notify the sentencing commission when prisons are 85 percent filled. The commission would make recommendations by Feb. 1 of each year to modify the grid to make the prison population fit the space. The new grid would become effective unless the Kansas Legislature takes action to stop it.

The Kansas Sentencing Commission would be continued as a permanent state agency and would be given expanded duties.

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