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Indeterminate Sentencing Essay Sample

Indeterminate Sentencing Pages
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In this assignment I will define indeterminate and determinate sentencing. I will also support an argument that will be effective for addressing a crime. Finally I will summarize my assessment of the sentencing models.

Indeterminate sentencing is the legal philosophy at the appropriate period of sentencing for a crime is to hold the offender as long as is appropriate to protect the community from an offender. An indeterminate sentencing philosophy holds the prisoner should on being allowed to leave when their behavior has changed drastically that the offender who’s been incarcerated no longer poses a threat.

Some pros about indeterminate sentencing are mandatory minimum sentences and keeping offenders off the streets. A con of intermediate sentencing is the sentencing of non-violent offenders to unjustly harsh prison terms where they crowd prisons that are already full.

Determinate sentencing is when the mandatory minimum sentence is enhanced for certain crimes. Sentencing guidelines allow judges to consider the individual circumstances of the case when determining sentencing. Mandatory minimum sentences leave little or no room to the judge when setting a sentence. Determinate sentence statuses have existed at various times throughout the history of the United States. These became popular in the 1980s when public concern over crime increased dramatically and the public demanded laws to address the crime population.

Some pros and cons of determinate sentencing can be mitigating circumstances. Crimes are acts that call for punishment but in varying degrees. For instance a longtime drug dealer caught with 30 pounds of heroin may deserve the long prison stay. However a casual first time user with less than 5 ounces would have to serve the same sentence 15 to life term under the recently repealed Rockefeller drug laws. In other cases and legal act may be partly justified. A child molester killed by victims parent is guilty of murder but not worthy of the same sentence as a Mafia hit man.

Criminal justice policies must be based on well‑founded theories and find­ings that survive scientific scrutiny. The application of scientific principles or findings to criminal justice programs that are well recognized and accepted by the discipline have more value than trial‑and‑error approaches in preventing or minimizing the onset of criminal behavior. Although biological techniques in the assessment of human behavior are still under the microscope and defin­itive answers have yet to surface, the foregoing description of biological foun­dations for behavior provides evidence of their applicability and value. The study of biological drives may also help to explain the development of specific social structures and control mechanisms (Jeffery, 1977; Pugh, 1977; Thies­sen, 1976). Biological perspectives, for example, may enhance understanding of how certain control techniques employed throughout the criminal justice system, particularly in corrections, operate to further criminal activities through prisonization, crowding, dehumanization, and so forth. Use of this information in court or in policymaking can still be contested.

Nevertheless, by undertaking a collaborative strategy, researchers can hope to develop more effective programs to reduce the incidence of antisocial behaviors (e.g., vio­lence) and develop a legal system that reflects public consensus, meets human needs, and maintains an ethical and organized social structure. recently published a massive evaluation of the implications of biological data for topics of interest to criminologists. Their message is that insufficient consideration has been given to biological and social interactions in criminological studies. Consistent observations that a small percentage of offenders are responsible for a preponderance of serious crime (Hamparin et al., 1978; Moffitt et al., 1989; Wolfgang, 1972) suggest that particular forces produce antisocial behavior in particular individuals. Further, much research shows that violent criminals have an early history of crime and aggression (Loeber and Dishion, 1983; Moffitt et al., 1989). The possibility that biological conditions may play a role in the development of antisocial and criminal behavior is accentuated by these reports and has spurred a search for biological markers in “vulnerable” subgroups (Mednick et al., 1987).

In the past, theories of the biological aspects of criminal behavior were marked by a general lack of knowledge regarding the human brain and by serious methodological shortcomings (see, e.g., Glueck and Glueck, 1956; Goddard, 1921; Hooten, 1939; Jacobs et al., 1965; Lombroso, 1918; Sheldon, 1949). Indeed, “biological criminology” was eventually discredited because its findings were largely unscientific, simplistic, and unicausal. Biological fac­tors were globally rejected due to the inability of theorists to posit a rational explanation for the development of criminal behavior.

More recently, biological aspects of criminal behavior have been investi­gated by numerous behavioral scientists employing a multidisciplinary approach that promises to enhance substantially the rigor of the findings. Scientists in such fields as genetics, biochemistry, endocrinology, neuro­science, immunology, and psychophysiology have been intensively studying aspects of human behavior that are relevant to the criminologist and the criminal justice practitioner. Due to the highly technical and field‑specific language of much of this research, findings generated from these works are not usually included in the literature reviews of criminologists. The relative lack of interdisciplinary communication has resulted in a lack of awareness of data pertinent to the study of crime and criminal behavior. This paper is a small step toward filling that gap.

The primary purpose of this is to present an overview of biological perspectives on the study of crime. Once acquainted with the parameters and findings of biological research, criminologists may begin to incorporate relia­ble biological aspects of criminal behavior into their theoretical and applied frameworks. Specific findings in biology are presented for criminologists to consider. Although the paper provides only an initial, condensed introduc­tion to the vast amount of work accomplished in the behavioral sciences, it may help develop a sound, scientific, and pragmatic framework for future criminological research with a multidisciplinary orientation.

Psychophysiological variables, for example, heart rate, blood pressure, attention and arousal levels, skin conductance, brain waves, and hormone levels, are quantifiable indices of nervous system function. These measurable conditions directly reflect emotional responses and can be experimentally manipulated in human populations.

Studies of criminal behavior, aggression, and psychopathy have repeatedly found psychophysiological evidence for mental abnormality and central ner­vous system disturbances as putative markers for criminal behavior. For example, psychopaths have been found to differ from nonpsychopathic controls in several physiological parameters. These indices include (a) electroencephalogram (EEG) differences, (b) cognitive and neuropsycho­logical impairment, and (c) electrodermal, cardiovascular, and other nervous system measures.[viii]

In particular, psychopathic individuals have been found to show relatively more slow wave activity in their spontaneous (that is, when resting with no provocation) EEG compared with controls, which may be related to differ­ences in cognitive abilities (Hare, 1970; Howard, 1984; Pincus and Tucker, 1974; Syndulko, 1978). Some investigators have suggested that relatively high levels of EEG slowing in psychopathic subjects reflect a maturational lag in brain function (Kiloh et al., 1972; Pontius and Ruttiger, 1976). Thus, EEG slowing among individuals who also demonstrate immature behavior and an inability to learn from experience supports a maturational lag hypoth­esis. It may be suggested that EEG slowing among some psychopaths is con­sistent with findings of hypoaroused autonomic function (see above) and other differences in psychophysiologic parameters. Their need for external stimulation may be higher and more difficult to satisfy than in other popula­tions due to a lower level of internal stimulation.

Criminal justice policies must be based on well‑founded theories and find­ings that survive scientific scrutiny. The application of scientific principles or findings to criminal justice programs that are well recognized and accepted by the discipline have more value than trial‑and‑error approaches in preventing or minimizing the onset of criminal behavior. Although biological techniques in the assessment of human behavior are still under the microscope and defin­itive answers have yet to surface, the foregoing description of biological foun­dations for behavior provides evidence of their applicability and value. The study of biological drives may also help to explain the development of specific social structures and control mechanisms (Jeffery, 1977; Pugh, 1977; Thies­sen, 1976).

Biological perspectives, for example, may enhance understanding of how certain control techniques employed throughout the criminal justice system, particularly in corrections, operate to further criminal activities through prisonization, crowding, dehumanization, and so forth. Use of this information in court or in policymaking can still be contested. Nevertheless, by undertaking a collaborative strategy, researchers can hope to develop more effective programs to reduce the incidence of antisocial behaviors (e.g., vio­lence) and develop a legal system that reflects public consensus, meets human needs, and maintains an ethical and organized social structure.

References

(Jeffery, 1977; Pugh, 1977; Thies­sen, 1976)
(Hamparin et al., 1978; Moffitt et al., 1989; Wolfgang, 1972) (Kiloh et al., 1972; Pontius and Ruttiger, 1976)
(Hare, 1970; Howard, 1984; Pincus and Tucker, 1974; Syndulko, 1978) (see, e.g., Glueck and Glueck, 1956; Goddard, 1921; Hooten, 1939; Jacobs et al., 1965; Lombroso, 1918; Sheldon, 1949)

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