Example Of Course Work On History Of Law

Published: 2021-06-21 23:48:06
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Question 1

Should private prisons be used as a way to reduce prison overcrowding? Why, or why not? What do you feel should be done to help mitigate prevention of prison overcrowding? Provide detailed examples, and explain why these would benefit the corrections system.

Response 1

Yes, private prisons should be used to reduce prison overcrowding. In 2006, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed an Emergency Proclamation that authorized the state of California to transfer prisoners to private-out-of-state prisons . The transfer of some inmates to private prisons mitigates prevention of prison overcrowding and it benefits the correction system; however, to the families and friends of the prisoners, it is a burden during visitations.

The disadvantage of transferring inmates to private prisons was felt by the families. For example, in the case of Danielle Rigney’s son who was imprisoned in California prison system, and was transferred to one of two Arizona’s private prisons the La Palma Correctional facility owned by the Corrections Corporation of America or CCA. To visit her son requires the family a round-trip plane tickets that costs a thousand US dollars, his father, and elderly grandfather make a 15-hour trip, and his friends cannot afford to visit.

In 2011, about 10,000 and more prisoners in California were transferred to five private out-of-state prisons. However, the California state prison system still overcrowded. The United State Supreme Court ruled that the state has violated the eighth Amendment; this is to provide adequate medical and mental health care to all the prisoners. The severely overcrowded prison system failed to provide the needs of the prisoners. The mitigation of prison overcrowding helps prevent the issue, and statistically, the state of California has ordered to decrease the prisoner population to about 137.5 percent of its capacity. Through it, the corrections system ultimately benefit adequate healthcare, lessen the violence, financial aspects (private-run prisons charge the government lower fees), and safety. Question 2

Discuss the issue of the federal government’s involvement in regulating state prison conditions. Should this be left up to the individual states or should the federal government regulate this? Why, or why not?

Response 2

The federal government plays major roles in the regulation of private and state prisons. Prison inmates retained only the First Amendment rights with inconsistency of its status as prisoners or with legitimate penological objectives in the correction system. For example, the Revitalization Act or National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Act of 1997 mandated that the Federal Bureau of Prisons or BOP sentenced the offender in the private contract facility .

Particularly, in the District of Columbia and the criminal laws of the United States, sentenced criminals or offenders that include people who were incarcerated for violations. In addition, only those who violated an act of Congress are imprisoned or detained by the United State and considered as federal inmates. Under the declaration of the Revitalization Act Congress is that all prisoners or inmates who were transferred to the authority of BOP, are subject to any regulations or laws that apply to the person committed the violation of the United States laws consistent with imposed sentence.
The Congress directed the BOP as responsible for the custody of the prisoners. It implies that the prisoners transferred to any state department of correction are under the custody of BOP, and in fact considered as federal inmates under control and charge of the United States and BOP.

Question 3

Response 3
One of a number of sanctions available in courts to deal with criminal offences is the prison. Today, this imprisonment is the harshest sanction; however, this is not the case before. The history of corrections challenged the best intentions and its worst in terms of abuses. The creation of its practices and facilities became part of the criminals, rich or poor. Prisons or community corrections averted the use of violence or coercions to prisoners.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the sanctions or punishments for criminal act were a public event that shamed the offender and death was the usual sentence. It has devised creative ways to punish for real or its perceived transgressions. The punishments include whipping, tortures, drowning, mutilation, branding, executions, suffocation, and death sentence. However, the extent of the punishment depended on status or wealth of the offender and the offended party. Richer criminals can make amends to the family or the victim while poorer would suffer more. The prison tended to place the offender in trial before its punishment. In the local prisons, boys and girls, men and women, murderers, and debtors were held together. During this period, the prisons were controlled by negligent prison warders and maintained badly; many prisoners died from diseases in a form of typhus. However, there was an important innovation made during the period, the prototype house of correction was built. In the end of the 17th century, the local Justice of the Peace controlled the prison system.

The period of Bloody Code happened in the 18th century wherein there was an increased opposition to the death penalty to all prisoners involved in serious crimes. In the lighter part, some prisons that existed in this period were run on household models where the jailer and family resided on the premises . The prisoners had the freedom to wear the dress or clothe they liked, walked around freely, and provided with food and necessities they need. About the transportation, this was the much-used method to dispose the convicted person. For example, the convicts were shipped to the British colony until the end of the American.

John Howard condemned the prison system as barbaric, filthy, and disorganized. Howard acted as a change agent during this period with its namesake the Howard League . He made some reforms that include outside inspection, necessities of prisoners, proper diet, and installation of paid staff. In addition, Jeremy Bentham with other reformers believed that the sufferings of prisoners were worthy; however, it should not harm the health of the prisoners. Reformers suggested for the separation of sanitation among women and men prisoners. The Panopticon was designed by Bentham; to allow observer to survey all the prisoners, and radiated out from the position centrally. Later in 1799, the Penitentiary Act has specified the building of one cell per inmate and operated on silent systems with labor continuously.

In 19th century, the Capital punishment was regarded as the inappropriate sanction for crimes committed. The popularity of penal reforms was contributed by energetic reformers that relates to the rehabilitation of offenders. The main role of prison regimes was reasserted reform of the Prison Act of 1898; the penal-welfare was context with the current prison policy. The Act led the separate system of the abolition of hard labor and replaced with productive livelihood. Later at the end of the period, young people were recognized to have a separate prison establishment introduced in the Prevention of Crime Act of 1908, the Borstal system . The Borstal system or training involved regime based hard physical works, strong moral character, and technical and educational instructions. As per statement of Sir Alex Paterson that, “You cannot train men for freedom under the conditions of its captivity” .

The supremacy of imprisonment was the means of dealing offenders that shows no sign of abate . In the 21st century, good planning of new prisons was implanted. All new prisons are part of the PFI programs managed by some private sectors. Among the 11 privately managed prisons, two prisons started life managed by the private sector that was brought to public management. Question 4

Response 4

Historically, there was a bit difference between the treatments of adults and children by the justice system. The consideration of age was applied in terms of punishments, and the young offenders were punished the same the adults that includes death penalty. However, the course of treatment has changed; the term criminal was replaced with delinquent child as one of the development of the first separate juvenile courts, parens patriae. The criminal behaviors committed by young people were seen as signs of the lack of care and control of parents. With this approach, the State has exercised their supervision and control before the juvenile child would commit serious crime.

In 2006, the Current Population Reports or CPR published by the Department of Commerce in United States, about 70 million children under the age of 18, what the numbers suggest is the diversity and magnitude of the issues affecting children particularly children at risk fall in the juvenile justice system. In fact, in 2002 report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI Crime in the United States, about 1.5 million young people under age 18 arrested annually for the crimes like loitering, street gangs, and murder . From the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention or OJJDP that youth engaged in risky behaviors such as driving a car or vehicle under the influence of alcohol, carrying a weapon, drunk in public places, attempted suicide, and some engaged in sexual intercourse especially high school students.

In 1899, the juvenile court handled three types of cases such as delinquency, child abuse and neglect, and status offenses. The status offenses are noncriminal misbehaviors that are illegal for minors like running away and truancy. In the 1960s, the criminal and noncriminal behaviors were considered as forms of delinquency. The law did not distinguish between status delinquents and offenders. At present, the juvenile court becomes very focused for public concern about the high rates of crimes in the country and the increased violence of juvenile crimes. In recent years, criticisms of the juvenile court perceived leniency toward juvenile delinquents.

In 2013, State justice legislation focused on the changing waiver and the transfer of laws, raised the age of juvenile jurisdiction, sentencing reforms, community-based alternatives of incarceration, and significance of the mental or health evaluation. For example, Illinois and Massachusetts passed a law, raised the age of the juvenile court jurisdiction to 18 for all offenses.


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(1996). The Juvenile Court: Analysis and Recommendations . Journal Issue: The Juvenile Court , 6 (3), 1-25. Retrieved from http://futureofchildren.org/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=55&articleid=310§ionid=2054.
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Reform. Retrieved May 29, 2014, from The Howard League for Penal Reform Web site: http://www.howardleague.org/history-of-prison-system/

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