Federal prosecutors believe that crime would spike and society would suffer in response to sentence reform. The National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys says elected officials should make no such change to our legislation system. Steve Cook, the association’s president, predicted the crime rate would rise and prosecutors would lose a tool to extract information if laws were made more lenient. Rather than focus on reducing sentences, he said, the government should consider building more prison facilities.
The U.S. has the highest number of prisoners in the world at about 2 million; with this being said we shouldn’t be building more prison facilities but reallocating those funds for rehabilitation programs. Federal prosecutors believe crime would spike but so would the taxes which we pay. If this nation keeps incarcerating men and women for unnecessary offenses, we the taxpayers are going to have to footing the bill.
What Steve Cook and other sentence reform critics fail to see is that if we tighten our laws anymore we will have outrage. All 2 million families of the incarcerated have a voice, and just like you and me they deserve to be heard. Building more prison facilities isn’t going to solve the problem, it’s just going to slap a band aid on it. The underlying issue still remains strong as ever.
Putting people in prison is remarkably expensive, and long sentences mean big bills that last and last. In 2008 alone, states spent $47 billion on corrections. That’s money that could be spent on a number of other vital community needs, including:Education, Infrastructure, Libraries or museums,Clean water,Disaster preparedness,Antiterrorism.
So many innocent lives have been thrown away due to unjust incarceration rulings. As a society we are taught to scold, ostracize and dehumanize those shackled by our criminal justice system. We as a nation are taught to hate criminals. But the same people we are shunning from society are the ones who birthed us and raised many of us.
Life is full of second chances, and that’s what this sentence reform bill is for those incarcerated. A second chance on life…hope.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one out of three American children live without their biological dad in the home. Consequently, there is a “father factor” in nearly all of the societal issues facing America today. We must realize there is a father absence crisis in America that is due to the injustice of drug related sentencing.
Youths in father-absent households still have significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds! A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39% of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately 46% of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail. What Americans needs to acknowledge is that “our” children are the future; and how we raise them is going to play a key role in the way our society will progress. Children of incarcerated parents are more likely to drop out of school, join in delinquency, and subsequently be incarcerated themselves.
- Official U.S. data shows that 63 percent of youth suicides (5 times the average), 70 percent of youths in state-operated institutions (9 times the average) and 85 percent of children with behavioral disorders (20 times the average) are from fatherless homes.
- Studies on parent-child relationships and child wellbeing show that father love is an important factor in predicting the social, emotional, and cognitive development and functioning of children and young adults.
- Daughters of single parents without a Father involved are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 711% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a pre-marital birth and 92% more likely to get divorced themselves.
Our legislative system is creating generational problems for our society and the future of our nation. These children who are being raised with a parent incarcerated are not as stable as those who live in a two-parent household. These children need stability and need to have a healthy relationship with their parents, especially those incarcerated.
Knowing this we need to develop an alternative punishment for non-violent drug offenses. Such as reducing sentences for incarcerated people who participate in rehabilitation programs, expanding sealing and expungement criteria for some juvinelle offenses, and providing the possibility of parole for some offenses committed while a juvinelle.
Our legislation needs to be stronger and it should eliminate unfair mandatory minimums altogether. Our legislation should do more to eliminate punitive incarceration for children and opt instead for community-based rehabilitation. Our legislation is barely scratching the surface of what needs to be done, and there is much more to do.
At the annual convention of the NAACP, Obama declared that the current U.S. justice system “remains particularly skewed by race and wealth”.
Like many other Americans, Obama believes legislation should minimize or eleminate minimum sentencing for non-violent drug offenders.
Hey guys, I’m Taylor and I’m a Junior and Communication major at the University of Maryland at the Universities of Shady Grove. With my degree I hope to start my own public relations firm, concentrating on sports branding and broadcast media.
As our nation is continuing to grow and develop, so should the laws in which our jurisdiction system is based on. It only takes one person to change your life: you. I hope our blog on sentence reform inspires our readers so that they too can make a change in the world.