Truth-in-Sentencing Laws

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  • Laws that require that certain offenders serve most of their court-imposed sentences before becoming eligible for early release. Truth-in-sentencing (TIS) laws were passed in most states in the late 1990s to address the growing public discontent with the length of time offenders were serving. Traditionally, offenders served between one third and one half of their sentences prior to becoming eligible for parole release. TIS laws require that violent offenders serve at least 85% of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. The federal government encouraged the passage of TIS laws by offering funds to subsidize prison construction costs to states enacting a TIS requirement.

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