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Structured Sentencing in North Carolina - Essay Example Less severe crimes that do not involve victim body injury or threat to body injury is assigned lowest classes while crimes involving victim injury is assigned highest classes. Misdemeanor crimes are classified in to four categories (Class AI, Class I, Class 2 and Class 3). Class AI is the most serious while Class 3 is the least serious misdemeanor crime (Tonry 86). Structured sentencing is based on several core principles. One of the principles is rationality of the sentence. The sentencing should consider the severity of the offense as indicated by the harm suffered by the victim and also the criminal record of the offender. Another principle is truthfulness. Early parole releases should be avoided since the jail term should be closed related to the sentence imposed by the courts. Another principle of structured sentencing is consistency. The sentence received by offenders with similar prior criminal record and convicted for the same offense should be the same. The last principle is resource prioritization (North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission 3). The sentencing should be accompanied by adequate prison and community-based resources. Prisons and jail terms should take priority for violent crimes or repeat offenders while community-based rehabilitation programs should first be utilized for the non-violent crimes, and for offenders with no prior criminal record (Tonry 86). Felon offenses are classified in to six prior record levels starting from Level I for offenders with no prior criminal conviction to Level VI for severe felonies involving violence and numerous prior criminal records, and convictions (Tonry 89). Structured sentencing in North Carolina has three sentencing levels. The levels include the active sentencing that involve jail terms, intermediate sentencing that involve supervised probation and community sentencing that may involve community service, restitution and fines. Active sentencing is done for high offense classes and felonies with numerous prior records. Judges may impose active, community punishment or intermediate punishment for convictions of Class AI misdemeanors regardless of the past criminal record. Class 1, 2 and 3 misdemeanors, the Judge may impose a community punishment regardless of the prior criminal history (North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission 8). Offenders serving a jail term of more than 90 days are incarcerated at the State prison system while those serving less than 90 days of jail term, are incarcerated in County jail system (Tonry 73). Intermediate punishment requires the offenders to undergo supervised probation. The first type of intermediate punishment is the split sentence, whereby the convict will serve a jail term followed and later undergo supervised probation (Tonry 85). Another type is the Electronic house arrest whereby the convicted offender will be confined in one area and monitored through the use of computer technology. The third type is intensive supervision where the convicted offender is closely supervised and monitored. The fourth type is the residential center, which is a highly structured program requiring overnight residence of the convicted offender. Another type of intermediate punishment is the Day reporting center, this involve a highly structured and close supervision program during the day and in
In auteur theory, a term originated by film critic Andrew Sarris in his essay, â€œNotes on the Auteur Theoryâ€16, there is a desire to outline the personal vision of the director. This is said to be the key instrument to understanding filmmaking. In addition, he writes the question is how does a director express personal vision? The concern is how this theory is used to examine the initial â€œobsessionsâ€ and â€œthematic preoccupationsâ€ of the director versus the original creator or author. This essentially becomes a study or attempt to outline the director's desire and/or personal statement. The purpose of the auteur theory is then to analyze films if not to understand the characteristics that identify the director as auteur. In the study of film criticism, during the 1950s, the basis behind â€œauteur theoryâ€ studies how a director's film reflects the director's personal and creative vision, as if the director was the original creator or author. Francois Truffaut, the famous French film director and critic, maintains that a good director (including the bad ones), exhibits such a distinctive style if not promotes a consistent theme that his or her influence is unmistakable in the body of his or her work. Like Truffaut, Andrew Sarris believed through analyzing film, an â€˜auteuristâ€ becomes appreciative of directors whose works detail a marked visual style as well as those whose visual style was less noticeable but whose movies reflected a consistent theme. As a result of this influence by critics like Truffaut, the auteur theory and â€œauteurismâ€ have become a very crucial and influential aspect of film criticism since 1954. African American Film Producer-Director Oscar Micheaux is an often overlooked auteur in contemporary film criticism. He created films depicting black life from 1908 to 1950, on what he felt were realistic terms, while also providing entertainment for the black movie going audience during that time. His films, unlike previous depictions, contained a range of types and attempted to show that blacks were often just as rich, educated, sophisticated and cultured as whites. 1 His films embodied who he was as a black man during hostile racial prejudice in America. Because of this particular style and the meaning behind his films, Micheaux has been criticized primarily for presenting a class system based on color in his ovies. A possible sacrifice he was forced to make after his films depended on white financing after the Great Depression. 3 As Sarris noted, the classification of an â€œauteurâ€, is that a director must accomplish technical competence in their technique, personal style in terms of how the movie looks and â€œfeelsâ€, and interior meaning. In order to classify Oscar Micheaux as an auteur, these three premises as Sarris defines them, will evidence Micheauxâ€™s work as an auteur based upon the process he utilized to create these films, their negative and positive reception by audiences and critics. In addition, the further study of how African American Cinema has been received and contributed to understanding black cultural traditions will evidence the basis and criteria behind his work. Micheauxâ€™s films, were unmistakable allegories of his own life, just as movies by Charlie Chaplin, D. W. Griffith, Orson Welles and other notable directors at that time, depicted their vision of America. 15 In order to understand and better examine the works of Micheaux, it is important compare the reception of two of his best received films. Based upon a story he had written, the film â€œHomesteaderâ€ was chronicled by the Chicago Defender to define the â€œnew negroâ€ whereas the critiques by both white and black audiences differed about his film â€œWithin Our Gatesâ€, which was his response to D. W. Griffithâ€™s â€œBirth of a Nation. Oscar Micheauxâ€™s body of work along with other films of the â€œrace movieâ€ film genre, often called race films, existed in the United States approximately from 1915 to 1950. These films primarily consisted of movies produced for an all black audience, featuring black casts. These films were often low-budget and technically inadequate, due to very little or no backing from any of the major Hollywood Studios. Like other independent black filmmakers of the time, his work and films were considered â€œroughâ€. 1/11 Financial limitations, typically impacted his style and work. 13 Micheaux wanted his brand of films to contrast and differ from earlier depictions of blacks as portrayed in minstrel shows, subservient, â€œhappy-go-luckyâ€ or as savages. By utilizing what author Gladstone Yearwood defined as an â€œafrocentricâ€ model, understanding the body of work created by Oscar Micheaux, will evidence his pioneering endeavours to create and develop the aesthetic of African American thought that reflected cultural priorities that delineated from the dominant society. 17 Additional references from articles, journals and critiques of his work will be used to examine the strategies and techniques he invented and adapted to use motion pictures as a means to create his films. For his black audiences, Micheaux believed in emphasizing black themes. The themes he often focused on included blacks passing for white, intermarriage, injustice of the courts against blacks, and even the sensitive subjects of lynching and the Ku Klux Klan. 3 Micheaux used his movies to deliver a message. Because of this, Micheauxâ€™s films were often controversial and censored. While they were shown nationally, his movies were either screened at special matineeâ€™s or midnight viewings, when and where blacks could attend. The third and â€œultimateâ€ premise of the auteur theory by Sarris pertained to and concerns with the interior meaning. Sarris defined interior meaning as an extrapolation from the tension between a directorâ€™s personality and his material. 6 Ossie Davis, an African American film actor, stated, â€œThere were black people behind the scenes, telling our black story to us as we sat in black theaters. We listened blackly, and a beautiful thing happened to us as we saw ourselves on the screen. We knew that sometimes it was awkward, that sometimes the films behaved differently than the ones we saw in the white theater. It didn't matter. It was ours, and even the mistakes were ours, the fools were ours, the villains were ours, the people who won were ours, and the losers were ours. We were comforted by that knowledge as we sat, knowing that there was something about us up there on that screen, controlled by us, created by us â€“ our own image, as we saw ourselvesâ€¦â€6 Micheaux produced seven novels and approximately forty films, all for black audiences from 1913 to 1948. The influence of Oscar Micheauxâ€™s earlier film career is evidenced by his intent to present positive images of African American life that no other filmmaker was showing at that time. Often considered technologically inferior, Micheauxâ€™s use of editing and film techniques helped him to depict and present some of the most controversial issues of that era. Micheaux had to overcome his own objections, and then proceeded to use film as a means to communicate his ideas, and to do what had not been done before him. That was to portray blacks with dignity and respect.
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