reply to classmate post. 150 words each. add additional insight.
Question: Select any punishment-related issue/story in the news this week. Identify the source of the story and post a summary of the story on the Current Event Thread. What, if any, public policy implications are associated with this story? Offer additional thoughts and opinions or related course material/references to support your assessment.
Classmate reply 1
Iowa man was convicted Tuesday of killing a man last year and leaving his body burning in a ditch. Steven Vogel was found guilty first degree murder and abuse of a dead body. Mr. Vogel will be sentenced on Dec 13 of this year. The Stated of Iowa said Mr. Vogel killed his victim by strangulations and wrapped his body in plastic and duct tape. Testimony during the trial indicated Vogel told witnesses he killed Williams out of jealousy over a “love triangle” involving Vogel’s girlfriend. (CBS.2021). In the closing arguments, Vogel’s attorneys stated the killing was not premeditated and claimed prosecutors lacked DNA to prove the killing. Do you believe Iowa state laws are to lenient on criminals that commit horrific murders such as Mr. Vogel? The victim was Black and all four suspects were White, but authorities stated this crime was not an hate crime. Public policy in most cases result in sever capital punishment of the death penalty, but people failed to forget it the State Laws determine that.
CBS Interactive. (2021, November 17). Iowa man convicted of killing, Burning body of man after “love triangle” testimony. CBS News. Retrieved November 17, 2021, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/steven-vogel-guilty-murder-michael-williams-iowa-burning-body-ditch-love-triangle-testimony/.
Classmate reply 2
News I found was titled “push for tougher penalties for people who murder children in Illinois”
The state rep of Illinois Lashawn ford is trying to push for a bill that has tougher penalties for people who kill children. This bill suppose to hold people to the same accountability as if they killed an officer of the law. “Ford talked about the murder of kids like Mychal Moultry, 4, who was shot and killed in September while sitting inside an apartment in Woodlawn. The shots were fired from outside and the killer has never been found.” So many children have lost their lives these past few years due to people murdering them intentionally or accidentally either way it has become something that happens way too frequently and I’m actually happy to see Illinois is no longer tolerating it. I just seen that story on the news in Houston how that mother and her boyfriend killed her son and left him rotting in their apartment. Then not too long ago a friend of mine niece was killed in a shooting in Chicago while waiting in a McDonald’s line the little girl was no more than five years old. Seeing children being hurt or killed is disheartening. They are just innocent babies who don’t deserve what this cruel world has been giving lately. With them increasing the penalties I do believe it will discourage people from wanting to commit these types of crimes. I think it’ll actually make people stop and think first.
Chicago, F. (2021, November 16). New push for tougher penalties for people who murder children in Illinois. FOX 32 Chicago. https://www.fox32chicago.com/news/new-push-for-tougher-penalties-for-people-who-murder-children
Question 2 : What is the best explanation for mass incarceration in America? How do we get political leaders and/or policymakers to address the issue of incarceration and racial disparities?
I believe the best explanation for mass incarceration comes from multiple things such as a offenders reoffending and maximum sentencing. Our text mentions “Unfortunately, the notion of selective incapacitation is based on the likeli-hood of an offender re-offending, and we have not been able to reliably predict who will continue to commit crimes. Sentencing an offender who would not commit any future crimes to a lengthy prison term is wasteful and expensive. But who are high-risk offenders, how much punishment do they require, and how much of a burden does this place on taxpayers? (pg.117)”. People get sentenced the max for the most nonviolent crimes, such as drug crimes, small theft crimes, and minor assaults and batteries. I’ve also noticed how theirs people who committed crimes from the 70’s and they are still incarcerated even though some laws have changed yet they are still being held at the maximum sentences. Most of the inmates incarcerated are minorities which is well known to be from the poorest areas. Mass incarceration affects the poorer areas because they can’t afford to bond out, so they just sit. This pushes families through the revolving doors of the criminal justice system. Mass incarceration contributes to poverty excessively because its creating barriers such as employment, reduces earnings, causing debt upon release because individuals are responsible for paying fees and fine once released. I feel like a good approach to getting more attention on this topic would be to show how this is affecting minorities negatively the most. I found out from a previously course black men are incarcerated five times the rate of white men. That alone should be enough to get all policies maker and political leaders’ attention. This issue has been going on for years and it should’ve been addressed. At this point I don’t see this issue resolving anytime soon.
Mays, G., L. and Rick Ruddell. Making Sense of Criminal Justice. Available from: Columbia College, (3rd Edition). Oxford University Press Academic US, 2018.
I believe there are many factors that have contributed into mass incarceration in America. I believe that many times there is a mass incarceration of individuals who are from minority communities, these individuals are the ones who tend to be mostly targeted and are likely to be incarcerated at a higher rate in comparison to other races. There is an increase of individuals being incarcerated for minimal offenses, offenses that can be addressed with community service or probation. One of the things that political leaders can do will be to provide additional resources and punishment to individuals who commit minimal crimes or less severe crimes. As stated in the text, “Furthermore, our judicial system is inefficient. Men and women who have not been convicted of a crime, rot in unsafe, overcrowded and understaffed jails waiting for their day in court. This is especially true in large urban areas. For example, inmates in Chicago’s jails in 2015 served the equivalent of 218 years more time waiting for trial than the sentences they would ultimately be given. Housing the inmates for this extra time cost taxpayers $11 million (Brown, T. N., & Patterson, E., p. 4).”
Brown, T. N., & Patterson, E. (2016, June 28). Wounds From Incarceration that Never Heal. The New Republic. Retrieved November 16, 2021, from https://newrepublic.com/article/134712/wounds-incarceration-never-heal
Mays, G. L., & Ruddell, R. (2018). Making Sense of Criminal Justice (3rd Edition). Oxford University Press Academic US. https://ccis.vitalsource.com/books/9780190679385
Okada, D., Maguire, M., & Sardina, A. (2018). Critical Issues in Crime and Justice (3rd Edition). SAGE Publications, Inc. (US). https://ccis.vitalsource.com/books/9781544307961
Question: How do we know if community-based corrections works? What should our primary concern be? Cost, public safety, rehabilitation, or something else? What weight should policymakers give to public concerns over safety?
Community based corrections provide correctional supervision services in the community. It gives offenders the alternative of parole and probation and avoids sitting in jail. Community based corrections focus on rehabilitation and deterrence. Parole is early release from prison, but the individual has to agree to abide by certain conditions. Probation is supervision over an offender ordered by the court. I think our primary concern should be our individuals actually abiding the law and are they being fully rehabilitated. I think its also important to consider if they are a risk to the community. The cost of community-based corrections is cheaper than a traditional prison. When it comes to public safety if a individual was concerned a threat they wouldn’t qualify for community based corrections. Community based corrections also have programs set up for each individual, so it helps them on their path of rehabilitation. According to our text “Fortunately, officials can reform and revise criteria to make success more probable through meaningful reentry programming. This is especially important, as some recent research has indicated that people who are granted a discretionary release from prison seem to have lower rates of recidivism than those who complete their entire term incarcerated and “max out” (Schlager & Robbins, 2008). One example of the opportunity to reduce recidivism rates is the Second Chance Act of 2007. This federal legislation provides support for reentry initiatives that attempt to rehabilitate offenders by equipping them with the necessary skills to become law-abiding, productive citizens for postrelease life. In fiscal year 2017, a total of 36 million grants were funded to 68 jurisdictions across the states for providing promising reentry services and programs (National Reentry Resource Center [NRRC], 2017).” This gives them the opportunity to look forward to something and actually be set up for success. Policymakers could give their individuals supervision while in the community. They could also do case plans and surveillance, use incentives, and rewards them having a positive supportive behavior can encourage them to stay on the right track.
I think the measure of success of community based corrections should be measured by actual recidivism rates. What I mean by that is minor technical violations should not immediately be considered a failure of community based corrections (unless the technical violations by the offender are frequent and escalating to the point where they obtain a new criminal charge). If our community based corrections options are resulting in higher crime rates and higher recidivism of offenders, then I would argue that it is not working well and the program should be changed. Recidivism is whether the offender has committed a new crime, which I think leads to a less safe community. I think recidivism is directly related to whether the offender has turned their life around for the better (stopped committing crimes, gained employment, re-integrated into society, etc.). For offenders to rid themselves of criminal behavior and turn their lives around in a positive manner I believe they need some support and positive connections in their social lives, otherwise they are likely to go back to their old ways. Our probation departments should be the type that are giving hands on service and monitoring versus just having their probationers stop by and check in once a month. As a society our number one concern should be public safety, but how we achieve public safety can be thought of in different manners.
It is no secret that it is expensive to incarcerate offenders. Violent repeat offenders should remain incarcerated. As some States try to lower incarceration rates, maybe some of this money can be put towards community re-integration programs and job training. There should also be job training and basic education programs in prison to better prepare inmates for re-integration. We have been heavily incarcerating offenders for the last few decades as a means of achieving public safety, and we have seen some crime reduction, but recidivism rates are still pretty high for offenders after they’re released. Policy and lawmakers should listen to public concerns over incarceration and community supervision, however I think public safety should remain paramount. Lawmakers need to monitor the outcomes of new law and policy changes to make sure intended outcomes are met and things do not get worse (it is not set it and forget it) (Mays & Ruddell, 2018).