While it is true that American prisons and jails are overcrowded the answer is not to let out the violent offenders. These offenders need to receive nationally standardized sentencing and the sentences need to be longer than they currently are.
This five point plan proposes that the nation take the average sentence for each violent offense and double it. If the average sentence across the nation for robbery is three to six years, it will be changed to six to 12 years.
Third -- the third part of this five point plan to combat the emerging problem of violent crime in America will be to refuse early release. There is not a problem with allowing inmates to achieve the status of trustee however they should not be able to receive two for one days of jail credit with that status.
Jail and prison are boring. The time moves very slowly with nothing to do. Trustee status will allow inmates to learn valuable trades and use those trades while they are still serving their jail sentences.
While it is important to recognize the importance of providing perks for trustees, perks other than two for one jail credit should and will be offered. Some suggestions for this will be allowing increased family visitation for those inmates that achieve and maintain trustee status.
This five point plan calls for longer and tougher sentences for those that commit violent crimes.
Four- the fourth part of this five point plan will address the overcrowding of the jails and prisons in America. While this plan insists that the sentencing guidelines become stricter and that the inmates convicted of violent crimes not be permitted to have early release the plan does recognize that the prison overcrowding issues are what began to early release programs across the nation.
To this end, the five point plan provides an early release program for those who are convicted of non-violent offenses. Across the nation there are community corrections programs. Community correction programs provide intensive home supervision to those who are released from jail into the programs.
For the most part the community corrections programs begin with a several month total house arrest. The community corrections program officer makes frequent visits to the homes of the inmates to be sure they are complying with house arrest.
This five point plan allows for all misdemeanor inmates to apply for release to community correction programs following serving one third of their current sentence.
This will provide an significant amount of space in the jails and prisons for violent offenders to remain housed and not be released early.
The fifth point of this five point plan calls for day sentencing for violent offenders.
Currently, sentencing guidelines provide early release on parole for all violent offenders unless it is a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The five point plan removes such abilities and provides that those convicted of violent offenses will serve each and every day of what they are sentenced to serve.
One example is if the national standard of sentencing guidelines calls for six to 12 years for robbery and the defendant is sentenced to 10 years that defendant will do every single day of the ten years. The concept of probation will be reserved for misdemeanor offenders only.
Violent offenders do not deserve to be released on probation or parole. They deserve to sit in jail for every day that they are sentenced to serve and allow the American public to live and work in peace without concerns that violent offenders will be released into society.
The proposed five point plan will serve as a deterrent for adult criminals, and hopefully send a message to youthful offenders that they want to straighten their lives out long before they become adults.
For one to realize the importance of this plan one only needs to examine the juvenile crime statistics for violent crime in the Boston area (Barrios, 2006).
In 2005, there were more than 600 shootings in Boston, up from 341 in 2004. Most startling is the age of victims: High-school-age teens comprised more than 50% of shooting victims, according to a report on youth violent crime prevention published by the Boston City Council last year. From shootings at Charlestown High School to three men age 23 and under walking into a South Boston housing development last week and fatally shooting a man, youth gun violence is out of control (Barrios, 2006). "
One of the problems with the topic of crime in America is that for various reasons the problem is being downplayed to the American society.
Politicians in office want their constituents to believe that they have a handle on the problem and are working to maintain a safe environment for their constituents to live and work in. Government officials who work in the field of law enforcement only know that stiff penalties come with overcrowded jails and prisons therefore they are supporters of early release programs so that they can meet the mandated numbers.
The fact remains that violent crime has been on the rise for the past two years and rather than hide heads in the sand and tell the public it is not happening, it is time to admit to the problem, take the bull by the horns and correct it (Brack, 2006).
One of the solutions being studied is more funding. Why provide more funding when the problem can be solved by simply standardizing the sentence guidelines and refusing to release violent offenders, while at the same time agreeing to early release programs for the non-violent offenders?
The facts cannot be disputed. Violent crime is on the rise. This five point plan calls for drastic evaluations and changes to the current system of doing things however, it does not require a significant amount of funding changes to carry out.
If violent offenders come under a national standard of sentencing guidelines, are not allowed to go for early release, and are forced to be sentenced for longer sentences it will protect the American public, while serving as a deterrent to future criminals. In addition it can be done without building more prisons and jails simply by providing more alternative sentencing practices and early release programs to those who are convicted of non-violent crimes.
Barrios, Jarrett, (2006)Mass. voters give mandate for smart-on-crime policies.(Editorial)
The Boston Herald
Brack, Andy (2006) State looking at ways to take bites out of crime (accessed 6-26-07) http://www.statehousereport.com/columns/06.1015.crime.htm