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parolee a certificate to that effect.” Your subcommittee recommends that this clause be stricken from the bill.
With the above modifications, your subcommittee believes that the provisions of House Joint Resolution 425 will be highly useful to the Federal courts, and recommends that the bill receive the endorsement of the Judicial Conference of the United States. 4. Judicial Review of Sentences
Your subcommittee recognizes the possibility that, if the above recommended bills are enacted, the problem of disparities in sentences may continue to persist. There was suggested to the subcommittee, which previously had recommended against appellate review of sentences, that some form of review by district judges might be acceptable. The suggestion was to provide for a rotating panel of district judges in each circuit, which would have power to review sentences upon petition of aggrieved prisoners, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, or the Board of Parole. A similar system in Massachusetts, enacted in 1943, has worked out successfully, according to the opinions of a number of the judges of that State. Connecticut also has passed a similar law. However, after deliberation, your subcommittee recommended that further consideration of a sentence review system be deferred until such time as experience has tested the effectiveness of the other legislation proposed to reduce sentence disparities. 5. Administration
Your subcommittee recognizes that administrative problems will necessarily be involved if the proposed sentencing procedures are enacted. The new plans will impose additional responsibilities upon the Parole Board and its Youth Division, as well as upon the Prison Service. We are advised these agencies are already overburdened and with the increasing number of criminal cases coming before the Federal courts a still further thinning out of staff consideration is bound to occur. The need for expansion of Parole Board membership, or a broader use of hearing examiners and staff analysts, seems indicated. Also an increase in the number of psychiatrists, case workers, and other staff assistants available to the Prison Service will be necessary if the diagnostic services required by the courts and the Parole Beard are to be adequately met. However, these matters, your subcommittee believes, are primarily for consideration by the Department of Justice, and that new organic legislation to deal with them is not necessarily required. If the Department of Justice decides that the present parole law should be amended so as to increase the Board membership, set forth more specifically the qualifications and salaries of the Board members, or to spell out more precisely the standards and criteria to be followed by the Board in carrying out its functions, our committee, we believe, should be available to cooperate and should therefore be continued for that purpose.
Since the above recommendations are in substantial accord with the views of the subcommittee of the Department of Justice and the Advisory Corrections Council, it is believed that if the recommendations of your subcommittee are adopted by the Judicial Conference of the United States, there is reasonable likelihood of favorable consideration by Congress. Respectfully submitted.
BOLITHA J. Laws, Chairman.
CARL A. HATCH. Mr. Willis. Our next witness today will be Mr. Bennett, Director of the Bureau of Prisons.
TESTIMONY OF JAMES V. BENNETT, DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF
PRISONS, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Mr. BENNETT. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee: May I first of all express my appreciation for your patience and indulgence in granting so liberally of your time to hear what to me is an extremely important bill, because it goes to the very vitals of the kind of work that I am doing. You have already had testimony before you of the details of the bill, and I do not think I need to go into that.
However, I would, with your permission, like to present some more specifications about this disparity of sentencing, if you please, a little something about the experience of the States in this regard, and then, in a very few moments, point up, if I may, how this is a matter of such vital and paramount importance to the work we are trying to do in preventing crime through rehabilitating the men so that they will not again turn to crime.
Let me first of all answer the question as to whether or not there is anything untried or novel about this, and give to your able counsel a series of charts.
The first of those charts I would like to call to your attention is the extent to which this system is being used by the States (chart No. 1). Two-thirds of all State felony prisoners are committed under some form of indeterminate sentence where there is broad discretion in some board as to the time when a particular offender may be released. So there is nothing untried about this.
It is the system prevailing generally throughout the country. We have not had it in Federal courts for a number of reasons. First of all, it has only been in recent years that the Federal courts have had such broad Federal criminal jurisdiction; and, secondly, as Judge Laws pointed out, there have been differences of opinion as to how this problem should be worked out which has delayed the adoption of such a system in the Federal courts.
The second question that you asked is whether this is in any sense a softening of treatment. In answer to that, I show you on this second chart the differences in the amount of time actually served by a prisoner under the indeterminate sentence system and under the definite sentence system (chart No.2).
You will find that in practically all cases prisoners who are committed under the indeterminate system spend a longer time in prison than in cases of definite sentences.
Mr. Libonati, in your State the indeterminate sentence system, and across the board, all of them actually serve an average of 38 months in prison. That is what that “I” means-1-38.
Your State, Mr. Chairman, is a definite sentencing State, and the amount of time served in your State averages 21 months.
Mr. Willis. I see.
Mr. BENNETT. So, judging from the experience of the States, when you put this authority for determining exactly the amount of time a man should serve in the hands of some kind of a parole board, adult authority or other tribunal, he serves a longer time, and that of course is because the officials who deal with these people are able to judge better as to the needs of the man and as to the extent and how the public can best be protected.
Obviously, we will all agree that there is a very considerable amount of disparity in Federal sentencing. That is necessarily so for the reasons you have heard, because of the widespread, tremendous differences in Federal courts and the number of judges, and all of these other reasons you have heard.