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Truth in sentencing: Wikis


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Truth in sentencing (TIS) is a collection of different but related public policy stances on sentencing of those convicted of crimes in the justice system. In most contexts truth in sentencing refers to policies and legislation that aim to abolish or curb parole, so that convicts serve the period that they have been sentenced to. Truth in sentencing advocates relate such policies in terms of the public's right to know; they argue, for example, that it is deceptive to sentence an individual to "seven to nine years", and then release the individual after he or she has served only six years.

In some cases, truth in sentencing is linked to other movements, such as mandatory minimum sentencing (in which particular crimes yield automatic sentences no matter what the extenuating circumstances), and habitual offender or "three strikes" laws (in which state law requires the state courts to hand down mandatory and extended periods of incarceration to persons who have been convicted of a criminal offense on multiple occasions).

In the United States, federal laws currently requires that those convicted of federal crimes serve a "substantial portion" of their original sentence. This is achieved by eliminating or restricting parole and/or remissions. The first law requiring TIS was passed in 1984, and a number of states now have them. In 1994, a federal TIS law was passed: to qualify for TIS federal funding, offenders must serve at least 85% of their sentence for qualifying crimes before becoming eligible for parole. As of 2008, the District of Columbia and 35 of the 50 states qualify for this additional funding.

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