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Truth in Sentencing

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  • November 26, 2012
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Truth-in-sentencing debate
Learning Team B
CJA/204
November 26, 2012
Deana Bohenek

Truth-In-Sentencing Debate
Opening Argument
Truth-in-sentencing laws do not deter crime.  The federal truth-in-sentencing law guarantees that certain violent offenders will serve at least 85% of their sentence (Schmalleger, 2012).  However, if the offender acts accordingly in prison, he or she can attain parole for good behavior.  What about the victims? Victims do not want to hear this.  If an offender is sentenced for 30 years, the victim wants justice and wants to see the full 30 years served.  They do not want to see the offender getting released after 25 years.  The truth-in-sentencing laws are the judges’ guideline when choosing the sentence of the offender.  The law is a structured guideline for sentencing the offenders.  However, the judge can deviate from the guidelines if there are mitigating and aggravating circumstances.  Look at plea bargaining, this is still a possibility even though there are truth-in-sentencing laws in place.  The offender knows that if they get caught, they can plea bargain for a lesser sentence and be back out on the streets sooner. 

Let me say it again, truth-in-sentencing laws do not deter crime.  The offenders know they will get out of prison soon through a plea bargain or parole.  They know they can avoid serving the full sentence that the judge imposed on him or her. 

The only way to deter crime and reduce recidivism is to abolish the possibility of parole and ensure that the sentence the judge renders is carried out to full-term. Obviously, to take away the option for parole would mean that the prison populations would increase.  Well, we should take the funds left over from overhead to run the parole division and build more prisons to house these offenders.  The longer we keep them off the...