Phase 2 Discussion Board
Introduction to Criminal Justice
Are habitual offender laws targeting the right people for incarceration? Well first I am going to speak a little about the habitual offender laws. State legislators angered with the situation drafted new laws designed to prevent early release, especially for certain crimes. These new laws are called enhancement statutes. Examples of such statues would be the Habitual Felons Act, RICO, the Career Criminal act, mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking in narcotics, perpetuating crimes in a violent manner, three-strikes laws, hate-crime laws and 10-20-Life for using gun during the commission of a crime. Enhancement statues are designed to get tough with chronic and persistent offenders and keep them off the streets for an extended period of time. The central features of enhancement statues are (1) that they add severe penalties (twenty to twenty-five years) on to the penalty for committing the original crime, and (2) those receiving enhancement-statue punishments are not entitled to features such as early release, gain time, and provisional credits. In sentencing-guideline states, enhancement statues provide the amount of punishment by calculating the amount outside of the guidelines. The ultimate consequence of enhancement statues is that they ensure that the inmate undergoes a significantly long period of incarceration; this period is a flat-time sentence that cannot be affected by early-release procedures. Judges know that legislators have totally castrated the judicial discretion powers in every instance where they are faced with sentencing defendants convicted under enhancement statues. These enhancements have become common household names: three-strikes, 10-20-Life, habitual-criminal, and trafficking. Enhance sentences are almost universally disliked by trial judges, because they have no choice but to impose the statue in spite of mitigating factors. Of...
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