Determinate Sentencing: Last Chance in Texas

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Determinate sentencing is becoming more popular in juvenile courts. It is a special statute that allows for the possibility of a juvenile serving a sentence beyond the age of 21. It specifically covers certain violent offenses and drug cases, like murder, capital murder, sexual assault, and indecency with a child. Aggravated controlled substances cases are also covered (TYC website). The alternative to determinate sentencing is blended sentencing, which allows judges to issue delinquent offenders both juvenile and adult dispositions. Depending on the behavior of the delinquent while serving out their juvenile sentence, a fail-safe postadjudication stage occurs to determine whether or not their adult sentence should be suspended or invoked (Belshaw et al, 2011).

I personally do support utilizing the determinate sentencing for these offenders and believe that it would fail the criminal justice system not to utilize them. This is considered a heinous crime and they should not be shown leniency. At the age of 12-14, the juveniles know that murder is wrong, and the fact that this young man had to lose his life at the age of 19 over an IPOD is atrocious. As we've discussed in class these offenders don't end up where they are because of their first offense. They are habitual and violent offenders. For that very reason they should remain behind bars. It bothers me that juveniles usually get out of prison at 21. I think that the capital offenders should definitely be transferred to adult prison. It is not justice to have a juvenile kill someone and get out a jail a year or two later simply because they are under the age of eighteen.

The Huber (2005) book “Last Chance in Texas” tells stories about trying to ge...

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... age population or to meet their unique needs as very young prisoner (Deitch, 2011).

Works Cited

Belshaw, S. H., Caudill, J. W., Delisi, M., and Trulson, C. R. (2011). A Problem of Fit: Extreme Delinquents, Blended Sentencing, and the Determinants of Continued Adult Sanctions. Criminal Justice Policy Review. 22(3) pp. 263

Deitch, M. (2011). Juveniles in the Adult Criminal Justice System in Texas,

Austin, TX: The University of Texas at Austin, LBJ School of Public Affairs

Hubner, J. (2005). Last Chance in Texas. The Redemption of Criminal Youths. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks.

Knox, A. (2007). Blakely and Blended Sentencing: A Constitutional Challenge to Sentencing Child “Criminals”. The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

TYC Webiste (Received December 9, 2011).
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