Probation and Parole

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For some reasons of justice or cost, most offenders are not imprisoned, and more than 90 percent 0f all imprisoned offenders are eventually released. If laws are enacted that limit probation or increase the length of imprisonment by abolishing parole, there must be corresponding increases in prison space to accommodate the results. Limiting or abolishing parole release causes increases in the use of probation. “Truth-in-sentencing” laws permit only small grants of good time, while “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” statutes mean lifetime imprisonment on a third felony conviction. Criminal justice in America is divided between federal and state governments, and at each level power is diffused further, shared by three branches-executives, legislative, judicial- in a system referred to as the “separation of powers.” In each state, authority is shared by government at the municipal, county, and state levels. Although the operations of criminal justice agencies lack any significant level of coordination, each affects the others. A disproportionate share of the criminal justice goes to the police. Law reflects the need to protect the person, the property, and norms of those who have the power to enact law. Probations and parole are linked to particular segments of the criminal justice system and a system of laws most frequently invoked against a distinct type of offender: the poor. Probationers or parolees who are not arrested may have been rehabilitated, or they may be more successful at avoiding detection. The bible-based practice of placing an offender who was unable to pay compensation in involuntary servitude for no more than six years can be seen as a precursor to the concept of probation. Classicalism challenged disparate justice by emphasizing equality founded on a social contract. The classical concept of free will is the basis for the concept of mens rea in the contemporary justice system. The classical view provides the basis for determinate sentences. Free...
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