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probation & parole- extra credit

probation & parole- extra credit - Susan Martinez...

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Susan Martinez April 14, 2009 Probation and Parole Professor Tony Giunta What is Probation? By definition, probation is the release of a convicted offender under conditions imposed by the court for a specific period of time during which the court retains the authority to modify the conditions or re-sentence the offender if he/she violates the conditions. However, there are far more stipulations to probation than the definition conveys. There are rules, laws, restrictions, and so on that fully illustrate what probation is in society and community-based corrections. To fully understand how probation started, one has to start from the beginning. The first question is why. Why did probation start and why do we need specific, specialized probation officers rather than police officers who just overlook the means of probation? Probation exploded in the United States with the correctional dilemma following the desire of society in the mid- 1970’s to “get tough on crime”. This led to an increase in the percentage of convicted misdemeanants and felons in jails and prisons, and the decrease of the use of discretionary parole; when a group of people decide how long you should be on parole. In addition, there were changes in the sentencing laws and even longer sentences for violent offenders. These changes included indeterminate sentencing laws, determinate sentencing laws, and juvenile sentencing laws. Indeterminate sentencing is a sentencing philosophy that focuses on treatment and incorporates a broad range of undetermined amount of time served in prison or in the community where release is reliant on offender rehabilitation or readiness to function pro-socially. In simpler
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words, this means that the sentence has a minimum and maximum date where the minimum is always half of the maximum. This model judges and controls who goes to prison and who does not to alleviate overcrowding in prisons by using probation and parole. Determinate sentencing is the complete opposite of indeterminate sentencing. Determinate sentencing states a philosophy that focuses on certainty and severity for the crime committed and incorporates an exact amount of time to be served in prison in the community. It began in 1975 as first straight sentences, for example one would be sentenced to ten years in prison with no parole and possible probation. However, for every law there is an exception; the range of determinate sentences is determined by legislated statutes and sentencing guidelines. For example, if the maximum for burglary is five years, a judge is not allowed to sentence the individual to six years. This form of sentencing also practices the increase of the prosecutor’s control and power while decreasing that of the judge’s. It also includes mandatory minimums, truth in sentencing, and three-strikes laws. For this reason, indeterminate sentencing is used as a form of punishment and for all federal sentencing. As well as changes in determinate and indeterminate sentencing laws, the juvenile justice
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