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UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT

memorandum

DATE: June 1, 1979
REELY TO Norman A. Carlson, Director

Bureau of Prisons
SUBJECT: Criminal Code Revision

ATTN OF

TO David Beier, Assistant Counsel

House Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice

This is in response to your request for a memorandum concerning
items to be considered as a part of Federal Criminal Code re-
visions which have a direct impact upon operation of the
Federal Prison System.

Because disparity and the perception of disparity have an ad-
verse impact upon institutions, we have a concern about the
general sentencing scheme to be adopted. We have previously
testified in support of the Department's position, that a
system of sentencing guidelines be established for use at
the trial court level, and as the basis for appellate review.

There are several specific items, however, which directly re-
late to sentencing, and which have a significant impact upon
operation of the Bureau of Prisons, which we would wish to
call to your attention:

The existence of multiple sentencing procedures for artificial
categories of offenders leads to disparities and difficulties
in institutional operations. The Youth Corrections Act should
be repealed because :

The average age of Youth Corrections Act cases is 23.6
years, and includes many over 30 years of age. We
agree with the need to separate young offenders, such
as those 16 to 18 years of age.

The average committed offender spends more time in-
stitutionalized under the indeterminate type of
sentencing procedure provided under the Youth Corrections
Act.

Chronological age is not a good basis for separation
of offenders, and better means are available to protect
the individual with little criminal experience from
predatory and aggressive inmates.

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We also feel that the Narcotic Addict. Rehabilitation Act should be repealed because the majority of offenders with histories of drug abuse do not qualify under its provisions. As a result, the Bureau of Prisons has established drug treatment units for non-NARA drug abusers.

The Youth Corrections Act, as well as the narcotic legislation, represented the most progressive correctional thinking at the time they were enacted. However, the field has advanced since then, and statutes should be reviewed in light of this, and changed where necessary. For those who have advocated retention of the Youth Corrections Act, it is apparent that a primary concern is the setting aside of convictions for offenders who have demonstrated that they have rehabilitated themselves. We believe that some provision should be made to retain the ability to set aside, and it should be available to offenders without regard to age.

As you are aware, good time has a substantial impact on the amount of time which imprisoned offenders may actually serve. Large blocks of good time are unnecessary, and do not serve the interests of the correctional system. We support a good time system that would permit the awarding of good time in annual increments which do not exceed 10 percent.

In addition to sentencing, there are several other areas of proposed code revision legislation with which we are concerned. In the area of law enforcement authority, it would be helpful in our administration of institutions to be able to require autopsies in the case of violent death of inmates, or where the cause of death is not readily apparent. It is also necessary to clarify the authority to seize contraband from inmates, particularly when large amounts of money are involved in drug transactions in institutions.

We have also testified previously as to the need for Federal Prison Industries to be limited as to the markets to which goods manufactured in institutions can be sold. We believe that changing the law to permit Federal Prison Industries to sell to the private sector would create more problems than it would solve.

There are a number of matters which are more technical in nature, and which have been covered previously. In the interest of efficient use of time, we would ask for the opportunity to provide more specific input on these matters when the general outline of committee action on sentencing becomes more apparent.

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Referecce is made to your memorandum dated April 2, 1979 concerning the above subject.

Eased upon studies of the nature of pharmacy thefts which CR has reviewed ead participated in over the past two years, we see the proposed legislation to be of little or no value and feel the legislation fails to consider several inportant considerations regarding the nature of such thefts.

(1) In more than half of the incidents of pharcacy crime
ic 2 study ir St. Louis, no drugs were taken; thus there was
some other notivation for the crioe. Since the majority of
pharaacy crices involve noney or cerchandise, rather than
drugs, the increase in crimes against pharmacies is probably
a function of our economic times. Convenience groceries,
gasoline stations, liquor stores, and many other small busi-
nesses are experiencing similar (and sonetipes larger)
increases in crime.

(2) In all probability, pharmacies have become a popular
tarzec for both armed robbery and burglary due to the com-
bination of low risk and high reward for the criminal. There
is é low risk of apprehension due to the nutorious.!poor
security found in pharmacies. The majority of pharaacists
are loath to improve their security due to the costs of such
isprovedenis. The rewards available to the crizinal include
a broad spectrum of controlled drugs which the criminal say
later sell with ease, and high value merchandise such as
watches and caneras which cay be "fenced" or turned into
cash imediately. The possibility of substantial gain with
little risk of getting caughs are certainly attractive to
2 y criminal, whether he himself uses drugs or not.

(3) The fact that crines against banks are federal violations
is often cited by proponents. However, nationwide crime
statistics are up in nezzly cver; c?irgory including bank
robberies.

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(4) Federal court calendars are just as crowded as the calerca:s in state courts, and with the cozing into force si cre "Epice; Trial Act", any additional federal jurisdiction will bog down the federal courts even more.

(5) There is no evidence to support the idea that federal sentences for offenders would be any stiffer than those ceted out by state courts. Further, providing concurrent sentences for multiple offenders is a common practice throughout the judicial system.

(6) Every known enforcement statistic indicates that successful burglary/holdup arrests are directly related to the tine it takes to respond to the initial alaca. A siudy by the Los Angeles Police Department of burglary and holaup calls and alarts resulted in the following estirates and apprehension rates in relation to response time:

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(7) The primary enforcement authority responding to a drugstore robbery o: burglary must always of necessity be local 12: esforcement because of the need íor imediate action. k'ith over 50,000 pharmacies spread across the country in localities large and scall, the local police would still have the ozly capability for fast response. Moreover, an overlapping federal capability would create an additional taxpayer burdes.

(8) Robbery and burzlary are crimes corzitted against many types of businesses as well as against individuals. Since these crimes constitute a substantial part of their workload, local police have developed expertise to deal with then. Federai interver.cion into this area could have the effect of the states and cities slackening their efforts.

(9) Soce have suggested that the cere existence of a federal statute would deter potential violators. The existir, caseloads in every federal cnforcement agency do nos support this contention.

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