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Are Prison Sentences The Best Way To Deal With Criminals - Essay Example

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Name Supervisor name Organization name Date Are Prison Sentences The Best Way To Deal With Criminals? The prison system operates on inadequate funding. The addition of prison time, while successful in keeping repeat criminals off the street, also serves to further overcrowd prisons…
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Are Prison Sentences The Best Way To Deal With Criminals
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Supervisor Organization Are Prison Sentences The Best Way To Deal With Criminals? The prison system operates on inadequate funding. The addition of prison time, while successful in keeping repeat criminals off the street, also serves to further overcrowd prisons. This circumstance creates a ‘revolving door’ effect which releases vicious criminals early and adds to an atmosphere that is scarcely conducive to rehabilitation. America already incarcerates a greater percentage of its citizens than any other developed nation. Adding even more prisoners is not in the best interest of this nation’s people because they must pay more in taxes to build more prisons, support a increasing inmate population and are in the end less safe as a consequence. The economy is also hurt as this tax money is basically thrown away unnecessarily instead of being spent within the community. For more than two decades, lawmakers have frequently updated sentencing guidelines by enacting mandatory minimum sentences. Of these modifications, the predetermined prison terms ordered by politicians have been the most prevalent by far. The movement toward more severe sentencing reforms has had adequate time to be thoroughly studied and specific conclusions obtained. The initial determination has been that the broadly held viewpoints on which these ‘tougher’ sentencing laws were legislated via the public through their representatives were for the most part wrong. The sentences for violent crimes were not as relaxed as commonly assumed prior to this period of substantial reforms nor were they softer than sentences imposed in other developed nations for similar offenses. Distorted facts used by political groups combined with the media that focused sensationalism such as showing uncharacteristic examples of light sentences given to violent offenders. During the past quarter century, the U.S. has seen an unmatched proliferation of federal and state and prison inmates. (Gilliard & Beck, 1998). This increase of the inmates was caused by sentencing reforms such as the three-strike rule. The sentencing reforms that began in the 1980s had a simple purpose, to contain and diminish criminal activity by extending prison sentences which served to not only remove offenders from the community for a longer period of time but to deter others as well. The theory behind this is that the threat of long prison stays causes those contemplating crime to rethink their actions. Legislative approaches such as the ‘three strike rule’ reduces crime by removing the so-called ‘career criminals’ from communities. “The implementation of Three Strikes clearly demonstrated its positive impact on public safety” (Brown/Jolivette, 2005). Locking the door and tossing away the key ensures that a segment of the population will not have the opportunity to commit crimes thus an automatic decrease of crime. According to this theory, the expenditure for incarcerating a greater number of the population is gained back by the reducing of costs involved in less criminal activity. The three strike rule can be an valuable method of decreasing criminal activity but only if these directives are carefully made to include only the most severe of criminal acts. The problem is that three strikes laws is they also include consensual acts. This ties the hands of judges, making it impossible for them to impose their own judgment to sentence somewhat less dangerous offenders appropriately instead of how they would for the most violent in society. When taking into account the doubling of sentences for armed robbery, lawmakers should consider the unhelpful effects this action would cause to society. If, first, legislators reform existing guidelines that penalize consensual acts in the same way as violent ones, then they can pass more stringent penalties without hurting law-abiding citizens. It has been broadly recommended to consider the realities of the situation for the long-term instead of the advantageous political motives of the day. Works Cited Gilliard, Darrell K. & Beck, Allen J. Prison and Jail Inmates Washington D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics. (1998). May 10, 2011< http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/pjim97.pdf> Brown, Brian and Jolivette, Greg “A Primer: Three Strikes - The Impact After More Than a Decade” Legal Analyst Office (October, 2005) May 10, 2011 Student name Instructor name Course name Date The First Amendment, First for a Reason The First Amendment guarantees free speech, freedom of the press and religion. The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” (“The Constitution”, 2006). The First Amendment to the Constitution is the most familiar and enumerated of the Bill of Rights within both social and political realms because it is the most necessary in safeguarding the uniquely American freedom the Founding Fathers visualized. A free press is essential to the notion of democracy and has been correctly described as the ‘Fourth Estate’ of government. The three branches of government act to check and balance the other while the press watches over all of them. The government is held answerable by the people via information gathered by the media. The freedom of religion has been understood by many as the right to freedom from religion, an issue that refers to many areas especially those involving the teaching of the Biblical account of creation in public schools. The Founders created a secular country intended not to be prejudiced by religious dogma. The First Amendment is the glue that binds holds the nation’s hard-fought-for freedoms together. It also acts to broaden the ideological partition between those who want it to be a Christian nation with Christian schools and those others who respect and preserve the Founders well-documented intentions for America. The Bill of Rights is widely recognized as the most important Amendments to the Constitution and the First Amendment, the most influential of those first ten amendments. Works Cited “(The) Constitution: The Bill of Rights.” (2006). Cornell Law School. May 10, 2011 Read More
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