This paper is the writer’s evaluation based on research of past, present, and future correction trends In regard to the development and Implementation of institutional and community based corrections. There Is an urgent need to revamp the antiquated practice of the crime control methodology. The get tough on crime approach requires harsh sentencing laws that subject non-violent offenders to harsh sentencing laws.
This has dramatically contributed to escalated prison populations. Reallocation and retribution is ineffective and has resulted in high recidivism rates. Inadequate rehabilitation programs that lack proper funding and substance and long determinate sentences make prison a revolving door for those inmates who lack family support in regard to financial and moral support. Convicted felons are not likely to find suitable employment because they lack the skill or viable training to prepare them for reintegration into society.
The get tough on crime, or crime control method of Justice is a proven failure and the corrections system is faced with the task f revamping the system that reduces costs and addresses rehabilitation in serious manner. The switch to alternative sentencing Is the new trend in regard to punishing criminals. Alternative sentencing already affects almost twice the number of persons convicted of crimes. The prison population Is aging and the medical cost of these inmates is at levels that could not have been anticipated. The prisons are old and out dated and do dot conform to the needs of the aging prisoners.
Specialized medical needs, inadequate space, and structural designs that are needed to make access to he prison facilities easier for older prisoners are not in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. (ACT). This further exacerbates the problem of diminished budgets by forcing the state and federal governments to settle lawsuits filed by inmates. Past The past methods of corrections evolved into several approaches in regard to punishment. In colonial days, prisoners were subjected to severe forms of corporal punishment that Included whipping and hanging.
Theses physical types of punishments were condoned by the public and were accepted as Just and served as a deterrent for committing crimes. There was the medical approach that emphasized treatment for the offender and provided rehabilitation in the form of learning a trade offender become a productive part of society while they were incapacitated in prison or Jail. There were even attempts to lessen the severity of sentencing for capital offences. This was the first form of alternative sentencing. With the advent of prisons, there was a problem with disorderly conduct.
This was mainly because there were no activities that adequately occupied the time of inmates. The earlier models of prisons were self-contained industrial compounds. Prisoners were actively engaged and prison sold the products the inmates produced. This made the prisons self-sufficient and gave the prison population trades that could be used when they were released. The depression was the reason for the collapse of the industrial model. Citizens were upset that prisoners were making products that could be manufactured by the citizens.
Legislation was enacted that prevented prisons from making products that competed with civilian factories. The reasoning implied that the prisoners were there to be punished. This was the end of the industrial prison. New prisons had to be constructed to house the inmates because the industrial prisons were no longer adequate in regard to housing inmates. Prison administrator developed recreational activities such as movies and sports to mitigate the idle time of inmates. This was not as structured as the industrial prison model, but it occupied their time and quelled the frequent outbreaks of violence. Murrain’s and Roberts, 2009, “Chapter 16, Cycles in Orientation Towards the Sentencing of Criminal Offenders”). Present The sass’s presented a problem for the legislative branch of the government and orison officials. The general public did not feel safe in their communities. This prompted a get tough on crime approach that was based on the crime control model. This system was designed to incarcerate offenders for extended periods of time. Public sentiment drives the legislative process in regard to the laws that are enacted to control crime. There is also the belief that the politicians are solely responsible for the laws.
The writer believes that the will of the citizens ultimately drives the legislation. There is evidentially support provided to support this. The enactment of three criteria regarding sentencing is an example of the citizens not feeling safe in their communities and the politicians reacting by passing laws that represent their sentiment. The sentencing called for enhanced punishments for repeat or habitual offenders, determinate sentencing, and safeguards that provided fair and equitable punishments regardless of the racial and ethnic make-up of the accused.
There was legislation enacted that ensured that sentencing adhered to a standard that is non- discriminatory in nature and delivered Just deserts to the offenders. There were two legislative mandates that were enacted to provide oversight and regulate sentencing. The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 and the Sentencing Reform Act are interrelated in that one regulates the other. The Crime Control law focuses on the punishment and establishes sentencing criterion that is harsher and the Sentencing Reform Act establishes a standard in regard to applying the actual sentence to offenders.
These programs are directed toward violent or severe offenders. Legislative initiatives include enhanced sanctions for sexual offenders as well. Habitual offender statute is widely accepted and used by the majority of the states. Most offenders are considered career felony offenders and incapacitation is a deterrent and a solution to get these offenders off the streets forever. This process because of mandatory minimums, and other determinate sentencing criteria. The habitual sentencing provides a problem regard to defining what felonies would fit the criteria as habitual.
According to the law as it is written a felony is a felony. Now the statute presents treatment unfair to those offenders who have committed non-violent fences, but are considered habitual in the true sense of the statute. Career criminals use the law to avoid the statute by committing crimes in different jurisdictions. The problem with this statute is that there is no standard in regard to what type of felony is defined as a determining factor for this sentencing criterion. Truth in sentencing can be effective as a deterrent, but there is clarification that needs to happen.
It is important to apply the law in a fair and equitable manner. The law is for habitual criminals who commit crimes of a violent nature, with guns or paeans, which cause serious bodily harm. It should not apply to lower classes of felonies that are non- violent in nature. (Murrain’s & Roberts, 2009, “Chapter 16, Habitual Offender Statutes”) Sentence enhancements are guidelines for what were originally career criminals but later focused on crime committed with guns. This statute also applies to crimes that are sexual in nature. Drug convictions are included in sentence enhancement.
This is the most controversial because drug offenders make up the majority of the inmate population in the country. The enhancement law affects the sentencing according to type of crime that is committed. The enhancement law does not affect the first time offender who uses a weapon but affects sentencing for all subsequent offenses. The drug enhancement law is applied for quantity, location, age of the person who the offender sold the drugs to, and the type of drug. Offenders that commit crimes frequently are also subjected to enhanced sentencing criterion. (Murrain’s & Roberts, 2009, “Chapter 16, ” Sentence Enhancement”).
Certain sentencing disqualifies certain offenders from articulating in programs that require the interaction with community programs. Conviction for sexual crimes, murder, and alcohol offenses that result in loss of life, and certain drug offenses, (distribution or selling) prevents the offenders to be released to halfway houses and work release programs. The community members and the prison administration consider the risk too great a threat for these offenders to interact with the community. These offenders are released into a minimum- security facility because they require more supervision because of the nature of their crimes.
Murrain’s & Roberts, 2009, “Chapter 16, Restricted Housing”). Financial considerations are forcing the government and prison officials to look at alternative solutions that would mitigate sending offenders to Jail. Determinate sentences mitigate the use of parole of because offenders serve the mandatory minimum sentence, which meet the standard in regard for parole. Some states like Alabama eliminate parole because they satisfy their sentence requirement by requiring inmates to serve at least the mandatory minimum for their offenses. The cost to house offenders is not sustainable.
There is already double the number of offenders serving alternative sanctions as compared to those who are incarcerated. The rate of incarceration is increasing at an astounding rate. The amount of criminals that are sent to prison is so overwhelming that the prison system is forced to release large numbers of non-violent inmates to make room for the new offenders. There is regard to enhanced sentencing. There are thousands of criminals serving life without parole sentences for non-violent offenses. The cost is astronomical to maintain inmates for the duration of their natural lives.
Politicians are convinced that is the responsibility of the state and federal government to rehabilitate felons. This means financially too. According to A Living Death Life Without Parole For Nonviolent Crimes (2013), ” 3,278 prisoners are serving LOOP for drug, property, and other nonviolent crimes in the United States as of 2012″, (V. Findings: The use of Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenders). Conclusion There is one thing that remains a constant in regard to sentencing enhancement and other sentencing criterion. The costs are not sustainable to the state and federal governments.
These ideas appear to deter crime, but the result of these laws has not deterred crime at all. The correction system has seen an increase in the number of incarcerations. There has to be clear and concise language regarding what type of felony is required to subject criminals to enhanced sentencing. First time offenders with non-violent offences should not be sentenced to LOOP. The corrections system and the government must find solutions to stop the rise of the prison population and not subject its citizens to this sentencing criterion without exceptions to the law. The age of the prison population is rising.
Older inmates need more extensive medical treatment and modifications to the prison structures to eliminate hardship in accessing areas of the prison facility. Community sanctions are needed for non- violent prisoners to help them become productive members of society and earn a decent wage. There was little warning that a large prison population would become such a serious financial burden to the state and federal governments. America is considered the most civilized country in the free world. The prison population is not indicative of the term civilized, and is an embarrassment to the citizens of this great action.
There will always a segment of criminals that need to be locked away, especially those who commit violent crimes. The government needs to concentrate on this segment of inmates and find a viable plan as to not apply enhanced sanctions on non-violent offenders. References: A Living Death Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Crimes. (2013). Retrieved from HTTPS://www. UCLA. Org/files/assets/111213a-loop-complete-report. PDF Murrain’s, R. , & Roberts, A. R. (2009). Visions for Change. Crime and Justice in the Twenty- First Century (5th deed. ). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection Database.