Should Nonviolent Crimes Be Rehabilitative

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Should nonviolent crimes be rehabilitative versus punitive in nature? Over the past several decades state and federal incarceration rates have increased dramatically in the United States. As a consequence of more punitive laws and harsher sentencing policies, there are more people incarcerated in the nation’s prisons and jails than ever before. The U.S. leads the world in its rate of incarceration. According to Valerie Wright, author of "Deterrence in Criminal Justice", society seems to agree with the old adage that there should be minimum mandatory sentences for crimes. This "stance" on crime is society 's deterrence for would-be criminals to know that if they do the crime, they will do some time (1). The question though that begs to be asked is: should prison sentences for nonviolent offenders be rehabilitative in nature? Should the "three strikes you are out rule" be applicable for those that commit nonviolent crimes? Should these sentences be altered to provide rehabilitation services, such as community service, probation or some sort of supervised out-patient treatment? It seems though that the prison system does not have rehabilitation services in place to assist nonviolent criminals or probation services nationwide with the resources available …show more content…

There is a fundamental lack of symmetry among the states. There is a federal schedule for sentencing, but each individual state differs. The scale of punishments would then determine ordinarily proportionate penalties for lesser offenses. It follows that if imprisonment is the most severe penalty, then proportionality will provide shorter terms of imprisonment and noncustodial penalties for lesser offenses. If the term of imprisonment for severe offenses is moderate, then short sentences and penalties such as probation will soon be reached on the scale of seriousness. This is the situation that prevails in many

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