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This memorandum provides history on structured sentencing and related legislation. The first attempt to create legislation that calls for even-handed punishments with strict regulation of judges' and correction officials' discretion began in the General Assembly in 1977 and culminated with the Fair Sentencing Act of 1981. This article also discusses new structured-sentencing legislation that will take effect on January 1, 1995.
The Fair (or Presumptive) Sentencing Act was amended in June 1980. The amendments pertain to active prison terms, aggravating and mitigating factors in proof of offense, appropriate relief and appellate review regarding sentences.
The Fair Sentencing Act was the cornerstone of North Carolina’s crime-control program in the 1979 Session. Applicable to felonies committed on or after July 1, 1980, the act is intended to make punishment for felonies more certain, fair, and balanced by regulating the sentencing superior court judge’s discretion.
The 1979 Session of the General Assembly produced little legislation affecting jails, but established a new procedure with regard to future parole of prisoners serving sentences in local jails. There are also two statutes dealing with the jailer’s authority to deduct time from jail sentences. The statutes refer to “good time” and “gain time” for sentenced jail prisoners.