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Criminal justice agencies
Branches of Government
- Criminal justice agencies are contained within the legislative, judicial, and executive branches
- of the government.
- branch creates and defines laws, establishes
- penalties, appropriates funds.
- branch determines whether laws meet
- constitutional requirements, overturn or ban policies
- branch appoints leaders in the justice system
The Criminal Justice System and Corrections
The criminal justice system is the only body with the power to try and punish offenders.
•Law enforcement apprehends
•The courts adjudicate and sanction offenders
•The corrections system monitors and confines
The Correction System
•Is part of the larger criminal justice system
•Takes place within a larger social context which influences human behavior and reactions
- •Involves many participants: the
- victim, the offender, reformers, and those working in the system
- •The institutions and methods that
- society uses to correct, control, and change the behavior of convicted
The Purpose of Corrections
The correctional system was designed to
- •Confine, manage, and rehabilitate convicted
- offenders within a safe, secure, and humane
•Protect individuals and communities
•Reduce fear of crime
- local, state, and federal governments more than $200
- billion per year
- more than 2.4 million people
- nearly 18,000 law enforcement agencies
- more than 17,000 courts
- more than 1,200 jails and prisons
- more than 3,500 probation and parole agencies
- million people arrested each year
- 2 million people incarcerated in jails in prisons
Agencies of Correction
- Formal Criminal Justice Process takes an
- offender through decision points from arrest through eventual reentry to society
•Police serve to contact, arrest, investigate, and hold in custody.
•Prosecution and defense handle complaint, preliminary hearing, arraignment, bail, plea negotiations.
•Courts serve in adjudication, disposition, appeal remedies
•Corrections serve to correct, release, post-release
Elements of Correctional System
- •Prison: a state or federal correctional facility that houses convicted criminals for
- typically more than a year.
- •Jail: a county correctional facility that holds
- people awaiting trial, sentencing, or serving a sentence less than a year.
- •Probation: court-ordered community supervision of
- convicted offenders by a probation agency.
•Parole: community supervision after incarceration.
Sentencing- what judges are limited by
- are limited by statutory provisions and guided by:
- investigation reports
- considerations (i.e. overcrowding, etc)
- personal characteristics
Reports, often called PSIs or PSIRs, that are used in the federal system and the majority of states to help judges determine the appropriate sentence. They are also used in classifying probationers, parolees, and prisoners according to their treatment needs and security risk
- •Generally, a presentence investigation report is prepared by a probation officer, who conducts as thorough a background check as
- possible on a defendant.
- a PSI includes sentencing recommendations.
Sentencing- Philosophical rationals
•Deterrence: General and specific
- The aim of deterrence is to punish criminals in order
- to deter people from offending and thus reduce the number of offences
There are two different types of deterrence:
- •specific deterrence: applies to an
- individual and the aim is to deter that particular person from re-offending.
- •general deterrence: aimed at people in general. The hope is that people
- will be deterred from committing crimes by the level of punishment that they
- will receive if convicted.
- The aim of a retributive sentence is to punish the
•“an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”
- •The idea is that if a person has
- knowingly done wrong, he or she deserves to be punished and society expects
- that he or she will be.
- idea that punishment that is commensurate with the seriousness of the offense
- or the harm done.
- Incapacitation makes it virtually impossible for offenders to commit crimes during the period of
- was done historically through exile or banishment.
- incapacitation is done through imprisonment.
- Changing an offender’s
- character, attitudes, or behavior patterns so as to diminish his or her
- criminal propensities
- •Rehabilitation helps an offender to solve the issues
- that lie behind his or her criminal behaviour.
- •The intention is that if the problems are solved, the
- offender will avoid committing further offences.
- •Example: a drug
- addict who steals to fund his or her habit may be assisted to overcome his or
- her addiction, thereby removing the need to steal in future.
- •Other offenders may be helped to develop their social
- skills and some may undertake training to improve their chances of employment.
- is based on the notion that the offender‘makes amends’for
- his or her crime.
- that the offender repay the victim or society for the harm resulting from the
- criminal offense
- or she attempts to ‘repair’
- the damage caused by the offence, usually by carrying out work in the community
- or by paying financial compensation.
- offenders to accept responsibility for their crimes.
- In denunciation, society expresses its outrage at the
- behaviour of the individual and condemns it.
- •convicted shoplifters are made to stand outside the
- shop that they stole from with a sign proclaiming that they are thieves.
- •Local newspapers also feature sections ‘naming and
- shaming’ those who have been convicted.
Sentencing- where do they go?
- More than one million adults are convicted
- of felonies each year
- •About two thirds of all felons
- convicted in state court are sentenced to confinement either in prison or jail
- •The remaining third are sentenced
- straight to probation
- •About one-third of convicted felons
- are also ordered to pay a fine, pay victim restitution, receive treatment,
- perform community service, or comply with some other penalty
- and federal legislative bodies enact penal codes that specify appropriate
- punishments for each statutory o
- Five types of punishments are used in the U.S.:
- punishments (more restrictive than probation
- but less restrictive and costly than imprisonment)
Concurrent versus consecutive sentencing
- Concurrent: one or more sentences imposed at the
- same time and served simultaneously
- Consecutive: one or more sentences imposed at the
- same time and served one after the other
The effect of good time
- take into account reduction in confinement time due to “good
- A sentence with a fixed minimum and maximum term of incarceration, rather than a
- set period.
- A sentence with a fixed period of incarceration, which eliminates the
- decision-making responsibility of parole boards.
Determinate v. indeterminate
- or fixed sentencing.
- of specific penalties by legislatures according to the seriousness of the
- Sentencing that is determined by judges and corrections authorities
- according to individual offenders.
Three types of determinate sentencing
Sentencing in which judges may choose between probation and imprisonment but have little discretion in setting the length of a prison sentence. Once an offender is imprisoned, there is no possibility of reduction in the length of the sentence.
No possibility for time off for good behavior
Rarely used today
Sentencing in which a specified number of years of imprisonment (usually within a range)is provided for particular crimes
Usually allows credit for good time but not release on parole
Sentencing that allows a judge to retain some sentencing discretion, subject to appellatereview. The legislature determines a sentence range for each crime. The judgeis expected to impose the typical sentence, specified by statute, unlessmitigating or aggravating circumstances justify a sentence below or above therange set by the legislature.
A compromise between legislatively mandated determinate and indeterminatesentences.
Three Strikes Laws
Intoday’s “law and order” climate, state legislatures areincreasingly replacing indeterminate sentences with determinate ones.
- “Threestrikes” laws
- •Many states have adopted new prison sentencing rules for those who are repeatoffenders•
- Requires harsher sentence for those convicted of third or higher-order felony
- can appeal their convictions on legal or constitutional grounds.
- the defendant has already been found guilty, the presumption of innocence no
- longer applies during the appellate process, and the burden of showing why the
- conviction should be overturned shifts to the defendant.
- an offender must file a notice of intent to appeal within 30 to 90 days after
- the defendant must file an affidavit of errors specifying the alleged defects
- in the trial or pretrial proceedings.
- are rarely successful.
Issues in sentencing
Federal Sentence Guidelines
•43 levels of offenses
Evaluations of Sentencing Guidelines
- •Concerns include complexity, bias, and
- harshness towards offenders
•Sentencing Reform Act of 1984
Legality of Sentencing Guidelines
- •Blakely v. Washington
•United States v. Booker (2005)
Issues in sentencing- length
•Excessive length of sentences
- •Non-Legal factors affecting
- use of violence
- committed for money
Issues in sentencing- contextual factors
- Class: Lower class criminals typically
- sentenced to longer prison terms
- •Gender: Women generally receive more favorable
- Younger defendants sentenced more harshly than adults
- Characteristics: Impact statements from
- victim/family can have an influence
- Disparities of Sentencing: Minorities
- typically receive longer sentences
- The subfield of corrections in
- which offenders are supervised and provided services outside jail or prison.
- diversion: a diversionary program where
- the offender has his or her criminal prosecution dropped upon successful
- completion of the program
- of system penetration: a diverson
- whose purpose is to minimize the offender’s contact with the justice process as
- much as possible
Dispute Resolution Programs
- programs whose purpose is to keep
- minor conflicts between criminals out of the criminal courts
- Those suffering from alcohol, drug,
- or mental health problems who can ask permission of the court to go through an
- intensive treatment program in lieu of being prosecuted. Those referred to these programs benefit from having their charges dropped upon successful completion
Treatment alternatives to street crime
- A treatment program designed to
- divert minor drug abusers away from the criminal justice system
- •Avoids the harsh impact of
- •Provides a wide-range of
- alternatives for decision-makers
- •Provides a “more
- justifying justice”
- •Deals with the economic, social,
- and personal factors associated with crime
Posttrial diversion from incareration
- A form of punishment that permits a
- convicted offender to remain in the community, under the supervison
- of a probation officer and subject to certain conditions set by the court
Probation- roots in England
- •The historical roots of Probation date
- further back to England.
- –A practice under English common law
- whereby a judge could suspend the imposition of execution of a sentence on
- condition of good behavior on the part of the offender.
John Augustus, Massachusetts
- Probation began as voluntary
- movement in late 19th
- was the first to provide bail for defendants under authority of Boston
- Police Court in 1841.
- John Augustus (a
- shoemaker) believed that most people who were imprisoned could benefit from
- assistance rather than incarceration - especially those who’s
- drinking had gotten them in trouble with the law
What Augustus did
- out and supervised about 2000 probationers- interviewed, helped them get jobs,
- education, established in communities
- services still in use today
- •Recognizing Augustus’s
- achievements, Boston formalizes probation 1859, creating the nations first paid
- probation officers
- •Is no longer voluntary
- movement; Probation experienced rapid
- growth in the first decade of the 20th
- century and in the 1096s.
- •Is administered by state and local
- •Became the most common form of
- criminal sanction during the 20th
- •Formally recorded obligation to perform some act entered by a judge to
- permit an offender to live in the community, often on posting a sum of money as
- surety, which is forfeited by nonperformance.
- •Originated by Judge Thatcher in Boston in
Probation- Medical Model
- •By the 1920s, the medical model was
- implemented in correctional institutions throughout the US
- model: the idea that criminality is a
- sickness that can be cured through psychological intervention
- •Many correctional authorities
- looked to medicine to “diagnose” the “illness” of criminality
- •Probation – became more treatment
- oriented and drew upon the medical model
- •Later, in the 1960s and 70s,
- probation officers became brokers who delivered services to clients
- •Diversion: Program/process designed to divert offenders
- from further involvement in the justice systems by enrolling them in
- community-based treatment programs
- • Recommended to keep both juveniles and
- adults out of corrections facilities
- •The reintegrative
- philosophy of corrections: A corrrectional
- approach aimed at returning offenders as soon as possible to the community
- •Community Corrections Acts: State-based
- laws through which counties who participate receive subsidies for diverting
- minor offender from state prisons
Contemporary probation programs
- or unsupervised probation
4 ways to be placed on probation
- offenders placed on probation in 1 of 4 ways:
- impose a sentence of probation (60%)
- impose a sentence of probation that is suspended pending good behavior (22%)
- those already on probation, additional sentence is imposed but its activation
- is suspended (9%)
- sentencing arrangements are used including;
- sentence modification, shock incarceration, and intermittent
Administration of Probation
Administration of probation
- •Approximately 2,000 adult probation
- agencies, some run privately
- administered probation departments
- or executive, administered probation departments
- probation and parole departments
Judiciary and Probation
- •Probation more responsive to the
- desires of the sentencing judge
- •Morale of probation officers is
- higher among those who work closely with judges
Executive Branch and Probation
- •Judiciary is ill prepared to manage human
- service operation
- •Requires full attention of professional
- public administrators
•Better allocation of probation services
- •Increased interaction between corrections
- and allied human services
- •Increased access to the legislature and
- budgeting process
•More appropriate service priorities
Organization of Probation
•Centralized or decentralized?
- •Administered by the judiciary or the
- executive branch?
•Combined with parole services or not?
- •It is important to note that the
- characteristics of probation reflect the social forces of the time.
Centralized v. Decentralized
- •Administered by city or county
- instead of a state
•Smaller, more flexible
- •Better able to respond to unique
- problems of community
- •Larger, can train staff to take a variety
- of roles
•Can implement broader programs
The Legal Rights of Probationers
- •The main task of the presentence investigation (PSI) is to
- estimate the risk the offender presents to the community and to determine the
- treatment needs.
•Disclosure of PSI reports
- that defense attorneys can challenge any disputable statements
- v. New York (1949)
- v. Florida (1977)
Civil Rights of Probationers
- Supreme Court has ruled probationers are entitled to fewer constitutional
•Minnesota v. Murphy (1984)
•Griffin v. Wisconsin (1987)
•United States v. Knights (2001)
Placement on probation
- sentencing guidelines
- from the prosecuting and defense attorneys
3 steps of supervision
- 1.Probation officer establishes
- relationship with offender and defines the role of officer and offender.
- 2.Officer and offender establish
- supervision goals to help offender comply with conditions.
- 3.Officer decides how to terminate
2 purposes of probation
- - Investigation
- - Supervision
Issues w PSI
- •Person without authority is
- suggesting what the sentence should be
- •Congruence of PSI and sentences
- range from 70 to 90 percent
- •The big question is whether or not
- judges follow orders, or the experience of probation officers allows them to
- come up with recommendations judges select.
- v. New York (1949)
- •Judge imposed a death sentence on
- basis of evidence in PSI despite jury’s disclosure
- •Confidential comments from a
- private citizen that might endanger the citizen
- •Clinical statements or evaluations
- that might be damaging to the offender if disclosed.
- •Private investigative firms
- contract with convicted offenders to conduct comprehensive background checks
- and suggest to judges creative sentencing options as alternatives to
- •Court hires private investigator to
- provide report
- •Private reports likely more costly
- than traditional alternatives (especially to tax payers)
Features of PSI
- •PSI information is cross-checked
- with some other source for accuracy.
- •Avoiding vague conclusions about
- the case.
•Victim impact statement:
- Descriptions in PSIs of the costs of the
- crime for the victim, including emotional and financial losses.
3 objectives of probation agency
- the court in matters pertaining to sentencing
- community protection by supervising and monitoring the activities of persons on
- the betterment of offenders by ensuring that they receive appropriate
- rehabilitation services
Duties of Probation Officer
- •Basic functions of a probation
- management and other administrative duties
- of court documents and chronological listing of contact with probationer
- investigation, and surveillance
- from counseling to enforcement
- investigation reports
- the court decide whether to grant probation
Dynamics of Probation Officer
•Officer role conflict:
Enforcing the law
Helping the offender
- •The ability to force a person to do
- something he or she does not want to do.
- The ability to influence a person’s
- actions in a desired direction without resorting to force.
- •Typically an individual who
- exercises power in a relationship lacks authority.
The Offender and the Bureaucracy
- •Response to supervision strongly
- influences the overall effectiveness of probation.
- •Offenders may see the officer as
- occupying a commanding role.
- •Officers decide on style,
- supportive or controlling
- •Probationers commonly resent their
- •Imposes both formal and informal
- •Different types of conditions exist
- within the bureaucracy
Standard Conditions of Probation
•Constraints imposed on all probationers
- •Include reporting to the probation office
- and maintaining employment
Punitive Conditions of Probation
- •Constraints imposed on some probationers
- to increase the restrictiveness of painfulness of probation, including fines,
- community service, and restitution.
Treatment Conditions of Probation
- Constraints imposed on some probationers
- to force them to deal with a significant problem or need, such as substance
Money paid or services provided to victims, their survivors, or to the community by a convicted offender to make up for the injury inflicted.
Revocation of Probation
Probation ends in 1 of 2 ways:
- •Person successfully completes the
- period of probation
- •Person’s probationary status is
- revoked because of misbehavior
•Revocation results from:
•Failure to Comply with Rules of Probation
- Failure to abide by the technical
- rules or conditions of probation or parole (for example, not reporting
- regularly to the probation officer), as distinct from commission of a new
- criminal act.
What is a technical violation?
- Technically not illegal behavior, but may
- violate the roles of probation:
•Changing residence without permission
•Failure to attend therapy program
•Neglecting to report to probation office
- Between 1/5 and 1/3 of probationers do
- not abide by the conditions of their probation
Effectiveness of Probation
Is probation effective?
- low for those on probation for a misdemeanor
- felons, up to 65% re-arrested
- more likely to receive probation for drug o
- •Generally no difference among
- different probation strategies,
- but compare probation against itself.
•Probation works more than doing nothing.
- •Probation works better than most people
•New York study:
•Prevented new arrests
•Probation more effective than jail
- •Another study looking at drug
- offenders showed similar findings
- is the mechanism for releasing persons from prison.
- supervision is
- a community-based continuation of the prison sentence.
Resp for release decisions
Field Service Agency
Resp for parole supervision w/in community
Probation v. Parole
- •Parole is not a court-imposed
- sentence, and
- •Parole is used with persons leaving
A method of prison release whereby inmates are released at the discretion of a board or other authority before having completed their entire sentences; can also refer to the community supervision received upon release.
- •Parole undermines both retribution
- and deterrence.
- •Parole does not sufficiently guarantee public safety
- •Parole is unfair because offenders
- with similar sentences serve vastly different prison terms.
- •Linking the degree of participation
- in prison treatment programs to the possibility of early parole amounts to
- subtly coercing inmates into programs that are often of questionable
Growing trend of intermediate sanctions
- Recent dramatic increases in
- prison, parole, and probation populations have forced community corrections to
- accommodate growing numbers of offenders.
- The field has also seen a decline
- in support for rehabilitation, and a growth in the trend toward intermediate sanctions.
Intermediate sanction- definition
Sanctions that, in restrictiveness and punitiveness, lie between traditional probation and traditional imprisonment or, alternatively, between imprisonment and traditional parole.
Arguments for intermediate sanctions
- probation does not work with
- most offenders; they need more but imprisonment
- is too much
- = too restrictive for many offenders
- •Justice is
- best served by options between
- these extremes
- reduce overcrowding in prisons and jails
- meet the needs of certain offenders
- can be used effectively with probation and parole violators
Continuum for intermediate sanctions
- are allowed to select from a continuum of sentencing options
- are able to escalate punishments to fit the crime
- administered by probation departments
"Community Corrections Acts"
- enactments in a number of states which provide financial
- incentives for local governments to keep offenders in local
- corrections agencies/programs, rather than sending them to state prisons
- keep people out of prison;
- by providing help in community
- reduce tax revenues spent on
reduce prison populations; save beds for hard-core offenders
- to early common law practice of compensation
- commonly used in Europe
- research showing fines reduce recidivism
- fines designed to equalize financial impact on offenders
- •Traced to Middle Ages where used as
- a mandatory result of most felony convictions
- •Civil forfeiture used to confiscate
- property used in violation of law and remove illegally gained profits
- action directed against the property; in
- •Criminal forfeiture following
- conviction and requires offender to relinquish assets related to the crime
- •Payment of a sum of money to the
- victim or public fund for victims of crime, based on the crime and offender’s
- ability to pay
- •Methods to keep wealthy from simply
- writing a check
- •Compensate victims and teach
- offenders financial responsibility
- •Offenders without resources may be
- confined to “work release” centers where they go out to work during the day and
- return at night
- Requires an offender to work hours
- at a private nonprofit or government agency
- •Commonly assigned public service
- projects include cleanup work on streets, parks, or in government buildings,
- volunteer service, and repair jobs in rundown housing
- •Initially viewed as rehabilitative
- alternative for those who could not pay
- •All states now have some form of
- community service
- an offender to remain confined in his or her residence for remainder of
- from evening curfew to nonworking hours to continuous confinement
- administered by probation departments, sometimes by court-appointed
- surveillance officers
- be coupled with electronic monitoring, fines, community service, etc.
- Use of electronic equipment to
- verify offender’s whereabouts during specified hours
- •Usually applied as its own sanction
- or in conjunction with other sanctions
- of sentence or pre-trial
•Types of systems
- and passive phone line
- location monitoring
Electronic Monitoring Today
- 20% of offenders on community-based supervision are monitored through EM
- low cost and high security
- avoid crowded and dangerous prison conditions
- concerns regarding “net-widening:” Is the goal of EM to catch more
- criminals (cast a wider net) or to control more criminals (create a stronger
- for nonviolent offenders with substance abuse problems who require integrated
- sanctions and services
- support came, national conference, and the term “drug court” entered the
- lexicon of intermediate sanctions
- to produce comparatively lower rates of recidivism
Day Reporting Centers
- facility where an offender, usually on probation, must report every day to
- participate in counseling, social skills training, and other rehabilitative
- an increased level of supervision
- conflicts as to whether DRC’s lead to decreased recidivism
- shock probation—The
- offender, his or her attorney, or the sentencing judge can submit a motion to
- suspend the remainder of a sentence after a felon has served a period of time
- split sentence—Offender
- serves part of his or her sentence in one sanction and the remainder in another
- residential community centers (RCC)—Residential
- centers for offenders who frequently offer a last chance before an offender is
- sent to prison or they provide a last chance for parole violators
- boot camps—A military-style facility used as an alternative to prison in order to deal with
- prison crowding and public demands for severe treatment
- is on the welfare of victims after crimes
- are to make amends to the victim or society for the harm from their crime
- intensive community supervision
- Conferencing and Circle Sentencing, Family Group Conferences, Reparation and
- Restitution, and Victim-Offender Conferencing are examples
"Stakes" of intermediate sentencing
- potential losses to victims & CJS if offender fails; stakes include injury
- from new crimes + public pressure resulting from negative publicity
- most “appropriate” sentence may not be “available” because of public/political
- high-profile offender simply can’t
- paroled or put on probation. (What DA wants to send a murder to boot camp?)
"Principle of interchangeability"
- The idea that different types of intermediate sanction can be calibrated so
- that they may be compared quantitatively with
- one other, despite significant differences in approach
Problems with intermediate sanctions
- the agency (who administers?)
- offender (who
- should receive?)
•based on offense severity?
•based on offender needs?
•the troublesome issue of “stakes”
•problem of interchangeability
•wider nets (catch more offenders)
- •stronger nets (harder to escape
- •different nets (different kinds of