Prison Term Policy Recommendation Proposal
September 9, 2013
Armed robbery is a serious crime that can put many people in harm’s way. Whether a person is robbing a place of business or an individual, they are committing a crime against society and robbing people of their sense of safety and security. When someone chooses to bring a weapon while they are committing a crime, their intentions are to intimidate and control their victims, or to injure them. Policymakers continuously work on bills that try to deter people from committing crimes and reduce the recidivism rate of offenders. When a person decides to commit a crime such as armed robbery, there is a level of free will involved. Most of the time a person is not forced into committing a robbery, but chooses to be involved with the incentive of financial gain. There are many people in society that struggle to make ends meet and work tirelessly to provide for their families. There are choices to be made when people find themselves in these situations. “Right and wrong are inherent in the nature of things.” (University of Phoenix, (2011), p. 1).Armed robbery would fit in the category of being considered wrong, no matter what the circumstances involved are. (University of Phoenix, (2011)). The part of this type of crime that may not be associated with free will, is the rationale behind it or ability to make rational choices. Sometimes a person chooses to commit a crime early on in their life and studies have shown that the part of a young person’s brain that controls impulsivity, has not yet had a chance to fully develop. Yet criminologist psychological research shows that, “Problem children are likely to become problem adults.” (Schmalleger, (2012), p. 143). There is much debate on whether juveniles should be given special consideration during their process of facing the juvenile justice system. There is no clear cut answer that has proven to be successful in regards to young offenders. The questions remain: Is it better to give them a shorter length sentence to give them the opportunity to rehabilitate as they become young adults? Or, due to research that shows they are more likely to commit crimes as adults, Is it a better option to keep them in institutes for a longer period of time to protect the general public? This factor, along with many other contributing factors, is taken into account by the judge while they are determining the sentencing of individual’s. A bill that will be presented to the state legislature asks that the maximum prison term for anyone convicted of armed robbery be doubled. As a criminologist advisor, my recommendation would be to vote for this bill that is being considered. I have considered that pros and cons of the bill and feel that the positive affects of the bill outweigh the negative. Publicizing the punishment involved in a crime such as armed robbery, may deter people from being involved in this type of violent act. Increasing the maximum sentence for violent, weapon involved crimes can keep citizens that choose to follow the law safe from people who choose not to. There have been numerous theories developed on why people choose to break the law, but the bottom line is that they do and they must face the consequences for their decisions. The psychological elements that play a role in why a person decides to commit a crime are important in the area of deterrence. Adding mandatory years to the sentence for committing a crime such as armed robbery, may be a positive attribute to the prevention of future crimes of this kind. Psychologically, a person considering a life of crime might be convinced not to if they understand the extensive punishment they face if they do. (Schmalleger, (2012), p. 143). Being involved with Community-based programs is sometimes part of the sentence imposed by a judge. Many times these types of programs involve intensive therapy, job-skill training and substance abuse counseling. These are positive options that may be encouraging and helpful to offenders who most likely need assistance in one or all of these areas. If there was a way to incorporate these services into the institutions that inmates were serving their sentence in, this would be ideal. Punishment for crimes committed is a necessary part of the checks and balances process but adding services that can assist offenders in becoming productive members of society one day, is helpful. As a criminologist advisor, I do believe that the bill doubling the maximum prison term for anyone convicted of armed robbery should be supported. One of the responsibilities of the legislature is to pass bills that keep law abiding citizens as safe as possible, and this bill will contribute to that goal. Passing laws that inflict harsher punishments for criminals, will hopefully deter them from committing crimes and lower the recidivism rate of repeat offenders.
1. Schmalleger, F. ((2012)). Criminology Today: An Integrated Introduction. Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.
2. University of Phoenix. ((2011)). Classic School of Thought in Criminology. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, CJA314-Criminology website.