Source: (2010) Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal. 7: 201-222.

Imagine yourself seated in a darkened theater at the start of a performance. The heavy velour curtain rises. A single spotlight illuminates a circle in the center of the stage. Your attention is riveted on the story unfolding within the circumference of that pool of light. Contemporary traditional California courts have commonly used a similar spotlight approach to assess offender sentences in criminal cases. With limited resources, and operating for many years within the constraints of California's heavy emphasis on retributive sentencing, courts generally focused primarily on the following criteria: the current offense, any allegation of parole or probation violation, the offender's criminal history, the offender's remorse and/or plea, and local and prescribed sentencing practices. It is with this approach that California's prisons have grown to their current overwhelmed capacity. (Excerpt).