A Guide to Improved Handling of Misdemeanant Offenders

A Guide to Improved Handling of Misdemeanant Offenders

A Guide to Improved Handling of Misdemeanant Offenders

A Guide to Improved Handling of Misdemeanant Offenders

Excerpt

It is a paradox of our judicial system that the misderneanant or lower courts are given the most work but the fewest resources. Handling 90 percent of the Nation's criminal caseload, their administrative capacities are sorely overtaxed. Understandably, and almost uniformly, the misdemeanant courts have become "mass processors" of cases. Yet, it is here that most people charged with crimes first encounter the justice of our criminal justice system, experience its due process, and form their attitudes about its fairness. Too often, it is here that the cycle of recidivism begins.

The purpose of "A Guide To Improved Handling of Misderneanant Offenders" is to offer concrete suggestions for improving misderneanant correctional and lower court practices. Its recommendations are based on both research and the experience of programs across the country. It explores such topics as court delay, pretrial jail detention, use of presentence reports, and special misderneanant treatment programs. Alternatives to incarceration are also examined.

This guide does not include methodology for a complete overhaul of the lower court system. It does, however, identify particular problem areas and present examples of positive new concepts that may be useful in improving the quality of justice for offenders.

WALTER R. BURMART, Project Monitor, National immme of Law Ehlorcemew and Crsmmd Justice.

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