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Corrections and Alternative Sanctions

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Christopher Ervin

on 6 May 2016

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Transcript of Corrections and Alternative Sanctions

Mr. Christopher A. Ervin
Vista Grande High School
Forensic Science Class

Corrections and Alternative Sanctions
History of Probation
The roots of probation can be traced back to the traditions of the English common law. During the Middle Ages, judges wishing to spare deserving offenders from the pains of the then commonly used punishments of torture, mutilation, and death used their power to grant clemency and stays of execution. The common law practice of

judicial reprieve

allowed judges to suspend punishment so that convicted offenders could seek a pardon,
new evidence, or demonstrate that they had reformed their behavior. Similarly, the practice of
enabled convicted offenders to remain free if they agreed to enter a debt obligation with the state.
Early U.S. courts continued the practice of indefinitely suspending sentences of criminals who seemed deserving of a second chance, but it was

John Augustus

of Boston who is usually credited with organizing modern probation. Augustus began in 1841 to supervise offenders released to his custody by a Boston judge. Over an 18 year period, Agustus supervised close to 2,000 probationers and helped them get jobs and establish themselves in the community. In 1878 Augustus' work inspired Massachusetts legislature to pass a law authorizing the appointment of a probation officer for the city of Boston.
Why Probation?
Although the term probation has many meanings, probation usually indicates a non punitive form of sentencing for convicted criminal offenders and delinquent youth, emphasizing maintenance in the community and treatment without institutionalization or other forms of punishment.
The philosophy of probation is that the average offender is not actually a dangerous criminal or a menace to society. Advocates of probation suggest that when offenders are institutionalized instead of being granted community release, the prison community becomes their new reference point; they are forced to interact with hardened criminals and the "ex-con" label prohibits them from making successful adjustments to society.
Probation provides offenders with the opportunity to prove themselves, gives them a second chance, and allows them to be closely supervised by trained personnel who can help them reestablish proper forms of behavior in the community. Probation is not limited to minor offenses or petty criminals. A significant proportion of people convicted of felony offenses receive probation, including even some murderers and rapists.
Why Probation, Cont.
Probation usually involves suspension of the offenders sentence in return for the promise of good behavior in the community under the supervision of the probation department. As practiced in all 50 states and by the federal government, probation implies a contract between the court and the offender in which the former promises to hold a prison term in abeyance while the latter promises to obey a set of rules or conditions mandated by the court. If the rules are violated, and especially if the probationer commits another criminal offense, probation may be revoked;
means that the contract is terminated and the original sentence is enforced.
If an offender on probation commits a second offense that is more serious than the first, he or she may also be indicted, tried, and sentenced on the second offense. However, probation my revoked simply because the rules and conditions of probation have not been met; it is not necessary for an offender to commit another crime.
Awarding Probation
Probationary sentences may be granted by state and federal district courts and state superior courts (felony). In some states juries may recommend probation if the case meets certain legally regulated criteria. Even though juries may recommend probation, the judge always has the final say so in the matter, and may grant probation at their discretion. In most jurisdictions, all juvenile offenders are eligible for probation, as are most adults. Some states prohibit probation for certain types of adult offenders, usually those who have engaged in repeated and serious violent crimes, such as murder and rape, or those who have committed crimes for mandatory prison sentences have been legislated.
The most common manner in which probationary sentence is imposed is a direct sentence to probation, about half of all probation starts this way. It is also common for a judge to formulate a prison sentence and then suspend it if the offender agrees to obey the rules of probation while living in the community, this is known as a suspended sentence.
For misdemeanors the probationary period usually lasts the entire term for which the person would serve in jail time, and for felonies the probationary period is normally less than the jail term would actually be.
The Extent of Probation
There are approximately 2,000 adult probation agencies in the United States. Slightly more than half are associated with a state-level agency, while the rest are organized at the county or municipal levels. There are about 30 states that combine probation and parole supervision into a single controllable unit.
Today there are more than 3.9 million adults on federal, state, or local probation. Among those on probation, slightly more than half had been convicted for committing a felony, 45% for a misdemeanor, and 1 percent for other infractions. In the last decade the number of people on probation has more than tripled. So, the probation caseload increased about 3% between 2000 and 2001. States such as Texas and California, are now maintaining hundreds of thousands of probationers in their caseloads. Without probation, the correctional system would rapidly become even more overcrowded, overly expensive, and nearly unmanageable.
Eligibility for Probation
Several criteria are used in granting probation. On the first level, the statutes of many states determine the factors a judge should take into account when deciding whether to grant probation. Some states limit the use of probation in serious felony cases and for specific crimes whose penalties are controlled by mandatory sentencing laws. The granting of probation, even in serious felony cases, has become common place, and about half of all probationers were convicted of a felony.
Some states attempt to control judicial discretion by creating guides for granting probation. Judges often follow the guidelines set down, but their decision making is often varied.
An offender that is granted probation in one jurisdiction, may not be if tried in another location. Probation is most often granted under the discretionary authority of the judge and the probation staff. An important issue involving who gets probation and who doesn't, is community supervision of convicted felons. The belief of many people is that probation is only used for minor infractions and this is not always the case. Many serious criminals are often given probation sentences, including people convicted of homicide (5%), rape (20%), and robbery (12%).
Conditions of Probation
When probation is handed down as a set sentence, the court sets down certain conditions for qualifying for community treatment. Many conditions are standard with every probationary sentence, like, being unable to leave the jurisdiction., but the sentencing judge usually has broad discretion to set specific conditions for every probation sentence. Judges are not allowed to pass unreasonable conditions, such as requiring an offender to make restitution out of proportion to the seriousness of the criminal act. Judges may, however, legally impose restrictions tailored to fit the probationer's individual needs and to protect the community from additional harm. Example; a child molester is forbidden to associate with minor children. In one case, a probationer was actually banished from the county in which he lived on the grounds that he was popular figure among drug-using youths to whom he sold cocaine; barring him from his residence also gave him an opportunity for a fresh start. A person's community supervision may be revoked if they fail to comply with these conditions and to obey the reasonable requests of the probation staff.The most common of the special conditions include residential placement, rehab and testing, counseling, house arrest, and community service.
Legal Rights of Probationers
A number of legal issues surround probation, one involving the civil rights of the probationer and another involving the rights of probationers during the revocation process.

Civil Rights
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that probationers have a unique status and therefore are entitled to fewer constitutional protections than other citizens. One area of law involves the 5th amendment right of freedom from self-incrimination. The Supreme Court dealt with this issue in the case of Minnesota v. Murphy (1984), saying that the the probation officer - client relationship is not confidential. If someone on probation admits to a criminal offense the information can be passed on to the police, or district attorney. Even still, Murphy went on to say that a probation officer could use trickery or psychological pressure to get information and turn it over to the police.
A second area of law involving probationers is search and seizure. In Griffin v. Wisconsin (1987), the Supreme Court held that a probationer's home may be searched without a warrant on the grounds that probation departments "have in mind the welfare of the probationer" and must "respond quickly to evidence of misconduct."
Civil Rights
What if the probationer is believed to have committed another crime and the search is for evidence and not to protect their welfare? In U.S. v. Knights (2001), the Supreme Court upheld the legality of a warrant less search for purposes of gathering criminal evidence. In the same case the court ruled that the home of a probationer who is suspected of a crime can be searched without a warrant if the search is based on (a) reasonable suspicion that they had committed a crime while on probation, and (b) that a condition of their previous probation was that they would submit to searches.
The court reasoned that the governments interest in preventing a crime, combined with Knight's diminished expectation of privacy, required only a reasonable suspicion to make the search fit within the protections of the 4th amendment.
Revocation of Rights
During the course of a probation term, a violation of the rules or terms of probation or the commission of a new crime can result in probation being revoked, at which point the offender may be placed in jail.
Revocation of Rights
When revocation is chosen, the offender is notified, and a formal hearing is scheduled. If the charges are upheld, the offender can be placed in jail for the remainder of their sentence. Most places will not revoke unless another crime is committed or if they seriously violate the rules of probation.
History of correctional institutions. Penal institutions were constructed in England during the 10th century to hold pretrial detainees and for those awaiting a sentence to be carried out. During the 12th century, King Henry II constructed county jails to hold thieves and vagrants prior to the disposition of their sentence, in 1557, the workhouse in Brideswell, England, was built to hold people convicted of relatively minor offenses who would work to payoff their debt, those convicted of a more serious offense were held there awaiting their executions.
History of Corrections
In all of the early jails, conditions were less than adequate. Jailers ran their jails for personal gain and the fewer services they offered, the bigger their profit. Early jails were catchall institutions that held not only criminal offenders awaiting trail, but also, vagabonds, debtors, the mentally ill, and assorted others.
From 1776 to 1785 a growing inmate population that could no longer be transported to North America the English house prisoners on hulks, abandoned ships anchored in the harbors. The hulks became infamous for their degrading conditions and brutal punishments, but were not totally abandoned until 1858.
American Developments
Although Europe had jails and a variety of other penal facilities, it was in the United States that correctional reform was instituted. The first American jail was built in James City in the Virginia colonies in early 17th century. The modern american corrections systems have their origins in Pennsylvania under the leadership of William Penn.
At the end of the 17th century, Penn revised Pennsylvania's criminal code to prevent torture and the use of mutilation and physical punishment.
History of Corrections
Most penalties were replaced with imprisonment at hard labor, moderate flogging, fines, and forfeiture of property. If you were convicted of a felony your lands and goods were used as restitution for the victims of your criminal activity, restitution was limited to twice the value of the damages you caused. Felons who did not own property were required by law to work in the prison workhouse until the victim was compensated. Penn ordered all counties to build "houses" of confinement to replace the things like stocks, pillories, gallows, and branding irons. As all of these were termed "cruel and unusual" punishments. These new jails were run by the local sheriffs.
The Auburn System
Due to overcrowding, the Auburn system was introduced in New York in 1816. The Auburn Prison design became to be known as the "tier system" because the cells were built vertically on five floors of the structure. This system also becomes known as the "congregate system" since most prisoners ate and worked together. Later a wing was added to house the unruly prisoners in solitary cells.
The Pennsylvania System
The Pennsylvania system was the first to take a giant leap of placing each prisoner in a solitary cell. The Pennsylvania State Prison open in 1826. It had a most unusual design, the state prison was built in the shape of a circle, Prisoners were kept in solitary confinement for the entire time they were in prison, they were, however allowed out for about an hour a day for exercise. A second facility was added in Philadelphia in 1821, This facility was known as the Eastern State Penitentiary, as the first one built was in western Pennsylvania and this one in eastern Pennsylvania.
Incarceration Philosophies
Why did prisons develop during this time? One reason was that during this period of "enlightenment" a concerted effort was made to alleviate the harsh punishments and torture that had become the norm before leaving the Mother country. Michel Foucault wrote a book in which the retraining of prisoners was the main issue. Foucault's thesis was that as societies became more and more complex, they create increasingly elaborate mechanisms to discipline their criminal members to make them more productive citizens.
Incarceration Philosophies
In the 17th and 18th centuries, discipline became more directed toward the human body itself, through torture. However, physical punishment and torture turned some condemned men into heroes and martyrs. Prisons presented an opportunity to rearrange, not diminish, punishment - to make it more effective and regulated. the 19th century prisons were more used to discipline the offender psychologically; "the expiation that once rained down on the body must be replaced by a punishment that acts in the depths of the heart."
Regimentation became the standard mode of prison life. Convicts did not simply walk from place to place; rather they went in close order and single file, each looking over the shoulder of the proceeding person, faces inclined to the right, and marching in step. When discipline was needed in the Auburn system it was applied in the form of a taskmasters whip on the backs of the inmates. Immediate and effective, Auburn discipline was so successful that when 100 inmates were used to build the famous Sing Sing prison in 1825, not one person dared to try and escape, although they were housed in an open field with minimum supervision.
Incarceration Philosophies
The Auburn system eventually prevailed and spread throughout the United States; many of its features are still used today. Its innovations included congregate working conditions, and discipline. In Auburn-style institutions, prisoners were marched from place to place; their time was regulated by bells telling them when to wake up, sleep, and work. The system was like the military that many of its early administrators were recruited from the armed services.
Although the prison was viewed as an improvement over capital or corporal punishment, it quickly became the scene of depressed conditions; inmates were treated harshly and were routinely whipped and tortured. Prison brutality flourished in these institutions, which had originally been devised as a more humane correctional alternative. In these early penal institutions, brutal corporal punishment took place indoors, where, hidden from public view, it could be even more savage and cruel.
Prisons at the Turn of the 20th Century
The prison of the late 19th century was remarkably similar to that of today. The congregate system was adopted in all states except Pennsylvania. Prisons were overcrowded, and the single-cell principle was often ignored. The prison, like the police department, became the scene of political intrigue and efforts by political administrators to control the hiring of personnel and dispensing of patronage.
The prison industry developed and became the predominant theme around which organizations were organized. Some prisons used the "contract system", in which officials sold the labor of inmates to private business, which then set up shops and supervised the inmates inside the prison itself. Under the "Convict Lease System", the state leased its prisoners to a business outside the prison walls for a fixed annual fee and gave up supervision and control. Finally, some institutions had prisoners produce goods for the prisons own use. All of these changes quickly led to the abuse of inmates, who were forced to work for almost no wages. During the Civil War era, prisons were major manufactures of clothes, shoes, boots, furniture, and the like. Beginning in the 1870's opposition by trade unions sparked restrictions on interstate commerce in prison goods.
Reform Movements
Prison operations were also reformed. The National Congress of Penitentiary Reformatory Discipline, held in Cincinnati in 1870, heralded a new era of prison reform. Organized by penologists Enoch Wines and Theodore Dwight, the congress provided a forum for corrections experts from around the nation to call for treatment, education, and training of inmates. One of the most famous people to attend the congress, Zebulon Brockway, warden at the Elmira Reformatory in New York, advocated individualized treatment, the indeterminate sentence, and parole. Although Brockway proclaimed Elmira to be an ideal reformatory, his actual accomplishments were very limited. The greatest significance of his contribution was the injection of a degree of humanitarianism into the industrial prisons of that day. Although many institutions were constructed across the nation and labeled reformatories based on the Elmira model, most of them continued to be industrially oriented.
Advent of Community Corrections
As the 19th century drew to a close many states began to experiment with community-based corrections, to help make the transition back into the community easier for the rehabilitated convict.
Community-Based Corrections
The forerunner in the development began in Ireland in the 1850's, Sir Walter Crofton was Ireland's prison director, he is credited for setting up a system so prison inmates spent the last portion of their sentences living in an intermediate institution and working in the outside community. These methods became very popular and under the Quaker influence, New York opened the Issac T. Hopper Home in 1845 as a shelter for released inmates. Brockway opened a shelter for women getting out of prison in Detroit in 1868.
Prisons in the 20th Century
The early 20th century was a time of great differences in the prison system of the United States. At one end of the spectrum were the people that advocated reform for the prisoners, such as the Mutual Welfare League led by Thomas Mott Osborne. These groups called for better treatment for prisoners, wanted to do away with harsh corporal punishment, and add educational programs for inmates. Reformers argued that prisoners should not be isolated from society and that the best elements of society - education, religion, meaningful work, and self-governance - Should be brought into the prisons.
Prisons in the 20th Century
Opposed to the reformers were conservative prison administrators and state officials who believed that stern disciplinary measures were needed to control dangerous prion inmates. These people continued the time honored tradition of regimentation and discipline. Eventually the whip and lash were abolished and solitary confinement in a dark cell with no windows became the common place. In time, some of the more rigid prison rules gave way to liberal reform. The red and white striped prison uniforms gave way to a new non-nondescript all gray uniform. Movies and radio appeared in the 1930's, and visiting policies and mail privileges were also liberalized.
The Modern Era
Prisons have come to be viewed as places for control, incapacitation, and punishment, rather than places of rehabilitation and reform. Advocates of the no-frills, or personal harm, movement believe that if a prison is a punishing experience, wouldbe criminals will be deterred from crime and current inmates will be encouraged to go straight. Nonetheless, efforts to use correctional facilities as treatment facilities has not ended, and such innovations as the development of private industry on prison grounds have kept the rehabilitative idea alive.
The Modern Era
The alleged failure of correctional treatment, coupled with constantly increasing correctional costs, has prompted the development of alternatives to incarceration, such as intensive probation supervision, house arrest, and electronic monitoring. What truly has developed is bifurcated correctional policy: keep as many nonviolent offenders out of the correctional system as possible by means of community based programs; incarcerate dangerous, violent offenders for long periods of time. These efforts have been compromised by a growing get-tough stance in judicial and legislative sentencing policy, accented by mandatory sentencing minimum sentences for gun crimes and drug trafficking. Despite the development of alternatives to incarceration, the number of people under lock and key has skyrocketed.
Correctional Populations
The nations penal institutions today hold about 2 million people and employs more than 250,000 to care for, and guard them.Prison populations have gone through many cycles of growth and decline over the years. Between 1925 and 1939, it increased at a rate of about 5%/year, reflecting the nation's concern for the lawlessness at the time. The incarceration rate reached a high of 137 per 100,000 U.S. population in 1939.
Correctional Populations
During World War II, the prison population declined by about 50,000 as potential offenders were drafted into the armed services. By 1956 the incarceration rate had dropped to about 99 per 100,000 U.S. population. The post war era saw an increase in prison population until 1961, when 220,000 people were in custody, a rate of 119 per 100,000. During the Vietnam era (1961 - 1968) the prison population actually declined to about 30,000. The incarceration rate remained rather steady until about 1974, when the current dramatic rise started. Between '95 and 2002, the number of male inmates in state and federal prisons grew 24%, reaching 1,313,000 in 2001. or 6.6 percent of all state and federal prisoners. The number of prisoners who were convicted for committing violent crimes increased at a high level compared with recent trends for drug and property crimes.
State and federal prisons 1,324,465
Local jails 631,240
Juvenile Detention 108,965
U.S. Territories prisons 15,842
Immigration and Naturalization 8,761
Military jails 2,436
Native American jails 1,912
Explaining Prison Population Trends
Why did the prison population grow so rapidly over the last 10 years even though crime rates went down? One reason may be politicians responding to the general public's more punitive response to criminal offenders. Public concern about drugs and violent crime has not been lost on state law makers. Mandatory sentencing laws, which have been implemented by a majority of states and the federal government, increase eligibility for incarceration and limit the availability for early release via parole. Although probation and community sentences still predominate, structural changes in criminal codes and crime rates helped produce expanding correctional population. The time served in prison has increased because of such developments as truth-in-sentencing laws that require inmates to serve at least 85% of their sentence behind bars.
Another reason for the increase in prison population is because conviction rates for such crimes as robbery and burglary have increased. In addition, get tough policies have helped curtail the use of parole and have reduced judicial discretion to impose non-incarceration sentences. Some states have implemented laws mandating that violent juveniles be waived, or transferred, to the adult court for treatment. More and more juvenile are being tried as adults and may find their way into the adult prison system.
Prison Overcrowding
Inmates are routinely housed 2 or 3 to a cell or in large dormitory style rooms that hold more than 50 people. Military bases and even tents have been used to house overflow inmates. In addition to detainees and misdameanants, thousands of people convicted of felonies are being held in local jails because of prison overcrowding. State correctional authorities have attempted to deal with the overcrowding problem by building new facilities, using construction techniques that limit expenditures, such as modular and preassembled units. There is also an increasing need to maintain security in overcrowded facilities, and this is likely to be accomplished with high tech advances to help deal in the need for higher security.
Cost of Incarceration
So many people are now going to prison that the federal government estimates that a significant portion of the nation's population will at one time or another be behind prison walls. About 5% of the population, or more than 13 million people, will serve a prison sentence sometime during their lives. Men are over eight times more likely than women to be incarcerated in prison at least one time in their lives. Among women, 3.6% percent of African Americans, 1.5% Hispanics, and 0.5% of whites will enter prison at least once.
Cost of Incarceration
Despite such ominous signs, the nation's prison population may be "maxing out." Budget cutbacks and belt tightening may halt the expansion of prison construction and the housing of more prisoners in already overcrowded prison facilities. While the techniques discussed earlier make existing prisons expandable, the secure population probably cannot expand endlessly. As costs skyrocket, many states are now spending more on prisons than on higher education. The public may also begin to question the wisdom of a strict incarceration policy. There may also be fewer criminals to incarcerate. The waning epidemic of crack cocaine epidemic in large cities may hasten this decline, because street crimes will decline and fewer offenders will be eligible for the long penalties associated with possession of crack. Fewer people are receiving a prison sentence than 5 years ago, and if this current trend holds the prison population will eventually start to decline.
In the final analysis, change in the correctional population may depend on the faith judges and legislators place in incarceration as as a crime control policy. As long as policy makers believe that incarcerating predatory criminals can bring down crime rates, then the likelihood of a significant decrease in prison populations seems remote. There is little evidence to support that this costly system does anything to lower crime rates, it is my opinion that other alternatives should be sought.
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