Observers of the process of legal reform caution that reforms often do not operate as intended by their formulators due to inhibitors at both the policy development and implementation stages. This paper traces the development and implementation of Illinois' determinate sentencing law in an attempt to determine the extent to which the formulators' objectives of sentence equity, release certainty, and non-coerced program participation have been met. The legal provisions and subsequent sentencing patterns are reviewed and evaluated with respect to their adherence to reformers' original objectives. As much of the law's impact was projected to occur at the correctional level, the implementation of determinate sentencing by correctional personnel is also reviewed in depth. Procedures regulating good time, supervised release and program participation reflect the continuation of discretionary decisionmaking and coerced treatment which conflict with the objectives of early advocates of determinacy. Inmates do, however, possess greater release certainty under the new law. Organizational and political factors are cited as accountable for the law's mixed success in meeting its original objectives.
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