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Stuck in the MIddle Court with You

Posted in Criminal on Monday July 21 2008 @ 2:42pm

What if parole were moved? Not just the offices or the funding (though that, too), but moved up in time?

So if you pictured the timeline of a criminal case (something we never covered in Montessori), instead of parole coming late in the case, it would occur earlier on.

It sounds eerily like drug court. But this is called Middle Court. It's completely different! (Well, not much.) The difference is, this South Carolina proposal -- which includes your basic restitution, frequent court appearances, skills training, and rehab -- also axes parole.

This is different from garden-variety abolishment of parole. That was a "tough-on-crime"/truth-in-sentencing venture. This is more of a melding of functions: the turducken of criminal law.

Middle Court and the concomitant demise of parole appears to be a natural progression. In Virginia, for example, imperiled drug courts obtained funding from the parole pot. Their argument: same thing!

Is it? Certainly, problem-solving courts do contain many elements of parole. The distinguishing feature is deep involvement by judges. What parole officers can't accomplish, drug court judges can (or hope to). [We will leave the legitimacy of problem-solving courts for another day!]

See AG McMaster Court Concept, AP (July 21, 2008).

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