Conclusion- Point out the need for an extreme reform and what can be doneSENTENCE OUTLINEI. An analysis of Department of Corrections data by the Center on Juvenile andCriminal Justice in San Francisco, CA, in Nov, 1995 indicates that since theenactment of California’s “Three Strikes” law two years ago, 192 have “struckout” for marijuana possession, compared to 40 for murder, 25 for rape, and 24for kidnapping. A. I have a strong proposition for the California Legislature. . .
and that is astrict and logical reform to the present Criminal Justice System in California. B. “The California Legislature is to be commended for its stance on crime. Notfor their “get tough” policies such as the “Three Strikes” law but for theirenactment of a little known section of the Penal Code entitled the “CommunityBased Punishment Act of 1994. ” (Senator Quentin Kopp, Time Magazine Feb 14,1996) C. By passage of this act, the State of California has acknowledged thelimitations of incarceration as both punishment and a deterrent to criminalbehavior.
D. The legislature has in fact declared that “California’s criminaljustice system is seriously out of balance in its heavy dependence upon prisonfacilities and jails for punishment and its lack of appropriate punishment fornonviolent offenders and substance abusers who could be successfully treated inappropriate, less restrictive programs without any increase in danger to thepublic”II. More facts, Opinions and Developmental IdeasA. In essence, this law proposes a community based system of intermediaterestrictions for non-violent offenders that fall between jail time andtraditional probation such as home detention with electronic monitoring, bootcamps, mandatory community service and victim restitution, day reporting, andothers. B. Pilot programs are to be developed as a collaborative effort betweenthe state and counties requiring a community based plan describing the sanctionsand services to be provided.
C. A progress report on an actof this kind would bemade by the California Board of Corrections on January 1, 1997 and annuallythereafter to selected legislative committees. III. InformativesA.
“It seems clear that the California Legislature has determined thatincarceration is not appropriate for many criminal offenses and that alternativesanctions are preferable for non-violent offenders. ” (Randy Meyer, PoliticalOfficial) B. But while this approach is to be applauded, its spreading preventsthe fulfillment of its true potential. C. “By retaining those non-violentoffenders that are currently in state prison and continuing to pursue defensivepunishment at the local level in the form of short term “shock incarceration”and bootcamps, the costly and ineffective methods of criminal behaviorcorrection remain intact.
” (Charles Calderon-US News) D. By immediatelyeliminating incarceration for all non-violent offenses and requiring victimcompensation and community service, resources can be committed to preventingcrime rather than to the feeding and housing of offenders. E. This is consistentwith the findings of the legislature and is cost efficient, requires minimalsystemic change, and increases public safety and security. IV. The ProposalA.
“Our current criminal justice system appears to be based upon the OldTestament proverb that “your eye shall not pity; it shall be life for life, eyefor eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. ” Revenge thus plays apart of the punishment model. ” (LA Official Boland) From a societal standpoint,we expect punishment to prevent the offender and others from further criminalbehavior. Incarceration of offenders as the punishment of choice thustheoretically provides revenge, individual incapacitation, and restriction.
But I submit that such a philosophical foundation is flawed. Revenge whileunderstandable from an individual human perspective is not a proper basis forsociety’s response to the misbehavior of its laws. This human urge to punishshould be removed from the current system and replaced with methods ofrestrictions that utilize the offender’s potential to benefit his victim andsociety at large. In other words, in a free society the end desired is thecorrection of behavior that utilizes the least force . This conforms to theprinciples of limited government, efficiency, reduced cost, and personal freedomas advocated by both liberals and conservatives alike.
The basic underlying concept of this proposal is that incarceration should bereserved for those who are violent and thus dangerous to the public. Violentcrimes would