“the American Criminal Justice System”

Topics: Death Penalty, Lethal injection, Prison Pages: 4 (1417 words) Published: August 28, 2011
“The American Criminal Justice System”
Timeline: Key events in the historical development of capital and corporal punishment
In 1692, the Salem Witch Trials began and is considered a great tragedy in history involving religion and beliefs. Many people suffered during this time if they were identified as a witch and the consequences were enforced by the minister of Salem, Samuel Parris, and his followers. A few punishments involved unlawful search and seizure’s, trials, and if convicted, executed. The Salem witch trials continued for eight months after Cotton Mather argued the mass convictions against the accused suspects and after the clergy began to question the evidence, Governor Phips, put a stop to the executions and all accused. A total of twenty people and two dogs lost their lives during this event in time.

In 1934, the military prison closes on Alcatraz Island due to a rise in operational cost and the Federal government opens a Federal Prison on the Island to incarcerate high profile inmates. This location was ideal to hold unmanageable offenders in isolation and officials hope it would deter committed crime to those individuals in society. Fourteen attempted escapes occurred within the twenty-nine years of operation. In March 1963, Alcatraz closed due to the building slowly deterring and security measures diminished due to budget cuts. After the escape of Frank Morris and the Angelin Brothers, many scrutinized the prison for its security.

In 1987, the United States created the sentencing guidelines under the Sentencing Reform Act in 1987. The guidelines resulted in a criminalization and sentencing process allows the prosecution control and Judges would have to follow these guidelines with little discretion on the decision. Congress would have the responsibility of creating a structure to avoid “Unwarranted sentencing disparity among defendants who held similar records who have been found guilty.” The sentencing guidelines initiated a debate...
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