Criminal justice statistics

To: NYS Joint Select Committee Chair

the author Christine Flora

Attorney General of the State

Date: December 17, 2017.


Please find below a suggested punishment matrix that the judicial system should take into consideration.

Sentencing Table listing the number of months spent behind bars for each offense

Points awarded based on the criminal history of the accused.

The criminal justice system needs to be robust and further ensure that there is fairness in the sentencing of persons found to be guilty of various offenses. Therefore, the purpose of the sentencing matric is to provide a scientific basis upon which judges can rely on when issuing a judgment (Reitz 471). The severity of the crime that one has committed, the level at which the accused helps the accused in apprehending the other accused persons, the reoccurrence of crime and the involvement of minors are factors taken into consideration when deciding on the judgment that ought to be passed against an accused. The matrix offers a universal basis through which sentencing of different people found to be guilty of various crimes is set to take place.

All judges are often compelled to adhere to the sentencing matrix, and their failure to adhere could lead to them being reported to their disciplinary bodies and appealing of the judgments that are issued. Based on the sentencing matrix that has been presented above, the sentencing is not punitive but meant to deter the likelihood of one committing the crime again. The primary consideration when coming up with the matrix is more punitive measures being granted to those who commit serious murders role robbery with violence then recommit such incidences after their first incarceration. Such offenses are likely to lead to a level of crime 43 and may attract life imprisonment. All level 43 offenses are deemed as serious offenses that a judge has to look into in depth before passing his or her judgment. However, some lenient crimes that are committed by an individual such getting intoxicated in public are minor crimes that ought to attract sentence not exceeding six months. Some offenses such as misdemeanors are petty offenses and ought to be given serious consideration where they border on sexual harassment.

The first time offenders need to be taken to the correction facilities with the intent of enabling them to realize the mistakes that they need and strive to be a better person in the society. The emphasis on community correction is gaining momentum in the American culture owing to the high number of those incarcerated taken into such programs. According to Petersilia, about 7.3 million adults convicted by various courts in the United States are in correctional supervision (499). The author goes ahead to affirm that some are on parole, or probation or incarcerated in the jails. Those who ought to be taken to the prisons need to be the serious offenders who may cause harm to the public when not taken into strictly supervised custody.

Balancing justice and morality is an issue that ought to guide any judge before issuing a sentence to any individual. There is need to offer justice as prescribed under the law without undermining the right of neither the accused nor the accuser. Additionally, there is need to observe morality and be fair in the sentencing that is issued out by a judge.

Fairness is an issue that has to be emphasized when discussing the implications of sentences that judges have to issue to various people who are facing conviction. In many parts of the United States, there have been reported cases of biases that are exuded by the judges where punishment is more severe to given ethnicities and races. Policy makers need to find it as a priority to make the sentencing lawful to ensure that there is equity in the way the law is applied to all, despite the race and ethnic affiliation (Morley 9). Law should only serve to bring about fairness in the society.

Some of the radical changes that have to be made in the judicial system have to touch on the way that the sentencing infrastructure works in the United States. There has to be a scientific basis upon which all decision is made with the intent of improving the quality of judgment that is issued. The use of a judgment matrix would serve to minimize the biases that some judges may have when passing judgments. Additionally, such mechanisms are beneficial in guiding the work of judges and reduce the public backlash against them when they issue a severe punishment of a given set of crime against an accused who has been found to be guilty.

In conclusion, the criminal history of an offer and the nature of the crime to which one has been found guilty serve as the basis for determining the time in incarceration that one has to help. The matrix acts as a rule that a trial court judge has to adhere to before passing any judgment against an offender. The primary advantage of the model is its ability to enable the judges to be consistent in the decisions that they give and ease their decision-making process when passing any judgment against the accused persons.

Works Cited

Morley, Andrew J. "Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission: An analysis of sentence fairness and prison population." (2014).

Petersilia, Joan. “Community Corrections: Probation, Parole, and Prisoner Reentry.” 499. Pdf.

Reitz, Kevin R. “Sentencing.” 467 - 498. Pdf.

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