GOALS OF THE ASSIGNMENT:
The purpose of this assignment is to provide substantive feedback to your peers.
In this way you will 1) expand your knowledge and views of Corrections, 2) learn to appropriately provide constructive criticism, and 3) learn how to appropriately respond to constructive criticism.
QUESTIONS FOR PEER REVIEW ASSIGNMENT
Be sure to identify which peer Reflection you are reviewing at the top of your responses and summary report, then answer the following questions. You must elaborate on why you answered yes or no for all of the yes/no questions.. Simply rephrasing the question in the form of a statement does not accomplish this and you will not receive full credit if that is all that you do to “elaborate.”
Does the author communicate his/her ideas clearly? YES/NO
Does she/he directly address all of the questions for the Flash Reflection? YES/NO
Is everything presented relevant to the overall topic? YES/NO
Is the overall organization clear and effective? YES/NO
Are there disorganized parts? YES/NO
Does the language seem appropriate for its intended audience? YES/NO
Grammatical errors? YES/NO
Punctuation and/or spelling problems? YES/NO
Does the author take a clear position on the issue? YES/NO
Does the author present a convincing argument? YES/NO
What other problems exist?
Suggestions for improvement
ONE DOCUMENT FOR EACH ATTACHMENT
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO AS ANY QUESTIONS
I WILL PROVIDE ANY ADDITIONAL INFO NEEDED
Flash Reflection One
For Flash Reflection One we were first asked to describe our personal beliefs on when society is justified in punishing an offender. For me, the answer to this justification has several stages for several different severities of crime. Capitol crimes such as murder undoubtedly deserve some form of punishment as murder is not a typical goal for a healthy member of society and receiving punishment for a crime of this magnitude would serve as a deterrence for others from committing such acts because they know the consequences. This stance on extreme crimes is similar to the majority of the population as seen in the “Rationales for Crime and Punishment” YouTube video when it states: “if we step out if the bounds of the social contract, the state has the power to punish us for such transgressions. This should only be done explicitly for the purpose of our collective protection” where the collective protection part is the key point here. In a utopia the “correct” answer would be that all crime is subject to equal punishment as crime itself is a violation of the social construct to which all members of a society are supposed to abide by.
However, for me personally I believe that a society is justified in punishing an offender when someone else has been reasonably harmed by the actions of an offender. I hold this stance primarily because of the key word “punishing” in the context of the original prompt as I believe that punishment should not be the main focus of the corrections system but rather rehabilitation should be. Again, in the case of capitol crimes there needs to be punitive actions yes but in cases like small property damage from graffiti from a teenager or young adult I feel that instead of incarceration the better option would be to attempt to address underlying factors as to why they felt the need to graffiti on property and how to address such behavior moving forward so they can learn why that is not acceptable behavior. Clearly I ascribe to the rehabilitation rationale for dealing with crime and the goal of punishment in society but I don’t think of rehabilitation as a punishment in the same sense as a lengthy incarceration sentence essentially equivocating to nothing more than a years and years long “time out” similar to what you would do to a toddler for bad behavior with no change in the behavior and instead a fostered hatred for those that put you in “time out”.
Despite my own feelings on what the goal of punishment should be in society, I cannot ignore that the most practical rationale is incapacitation. I think this is the most practical option because there are not enough resources to launch full programs to rehabilitate each and every criminal offender that there ever has been, and at this point in the corrections system’s lifetime after extending from a culture of simple incarceration and “throwing away the key” for criminals back in the days of the inception of the corrections system it would seem to be extremely hard to change the current system from a logistical standpoint.
One of the earlier legal codes called the Code of Hammurabi believed in the idea of “an eye for an eye” which might be considered excessive such as a hand being “hewn off” (Andrews, 2013) if a child hit their father. However, it also “rewarded compensation in the event that the perpetrator could not be identified” (pg. 5) in our country we have our own corrections system “ corrections is an umbrella term describing a variety of functions typically carried out by government agencies” (Ethics of Corrections) Our correctional system is made up of jails, prisons and other correctional places to help keep the general public safe from dangerous criminals who have been arrested or convicted of committing a crime. While many people might feel that people who are held in correctional facilities should not have any rights, I am kind of on the fence about it, because a part of me believes that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect and the police officers and correctional officers paid to look after the inmates should respect the rights of those individuals by not discriminating against them or using their position to abuse their power. While on the other hand I feel that if someone is convicted in a court of law for committing a crime, they should lose their rights.
In this country we currently have five types of punishments that are recognized they are: deterrence which is meant to not only deter the offender from wanting to commit another crime because they are afraid to be punished but to deter others from wanting to commit a crime as well. Secondly there is Incapacitation which helps to keep people under house arrest, jail, prison or another correctional type of facility such as a half-way house. Additionally, some individuals are given an opportunity to participate in rehabilitative programs that may be an alternative to being sentenced, or as a condition of their release. This may include treatment facilities, vocational or educational programs. This is all done to lower the recidivism of these individuals. There is also restitution which means that a person convicted of a crime is responsible for paying their victims due to harm caused to the victim by the offender. Lastly, we have retribution which means to punish or reward.
In the criminal justice system that means to make sure that the punishment meets the crime. I am a strong supporter of retributive justice. It may seem the obvious choice but from what I have read and seen this is not always the case, oftentimes in the media I have read about people being sentenced very harshly for small petty crimes where others facing more serious crimes have walked away with a slap of the wrist. For instance, a couple incidents come to mind, one is of a young African American male who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for being accused of selling someone a nickel bag ($5) after being arrested a couple times for other non-violent drug offenses, yet a 16-year-old from Texas accused of drunk driving and killing 4 people was initially spared any jail time because his upbringing and wealthy status would make it difficult for him in prison. Where is the justice for the family that lost their lives? Or the rehabilitation options for a young man who needed to sell drugs to survive. It is situations like this that help shine a light on our flawed criminal justice system.
Why someone may be more prone to be a criminal offender or engage in criminal behavior is tied to several different factors. Such as someone’s economic social status, or an individual’s environment which may be broken, a lack of support from parents, peers or school. Additionally, it can develop simply by choice or following others into a life of crime. For individuals who suffer from mental health issues it is the idea that they are looked at by society as being “crazy” and as a result are portrayed as offenders though often, they are the victim of violent crimes. For the exception of those that are arrested or incarcerated for non-drug offenses, or individuals suffering from a mental health issue or innocent of a crime it is my opinion that most people are punished for a reason and depending on the type of crime or the severity of the crime should determine the type of punishment an individual should receive. For example, some individuals might have to sit in a holding cell for a couple hours or days, others might need to be put in jail, which is usually reserved for people who may be facing misdemeanor charges such as public intoxication, simple assault or petty theft, for those in need of a more secure setting a prison which houses violent offenders or repeat offenders for such crimes as rape and murder is will, they will be placed. I also feel that as a country every state should follow the same guidelines when sentencing individuals, the punishment should fit the crime because currently we have a system that seems to target certain ethnic groups unfairly which results in more arrest and incarcerations for black and brown people though whites commit the same number of offenses if not more. Another thing that I would like to point out that bothers me is that currently Thirty-eight states along with the federal government impose capitol punishment. “what sets capital punishment apart from all other punishment is its quality of irrevocability” (Punishments in Corrections) Yes capital punishment may seem excessive and unnecessary but in my opinion capital punishment is necessary and should be an option in all states. Especially for individuals and families who have lost a love one to murder who may want “an eye for an eye” type of justice but instead based on where they live find that the only option for the offender is life in prison.
Given the wide range of functions in the criminal justice system It is my hope that those in law enforcement or the justice system will do what is right for the people in this country. I would also like to see more money put into alternative or rehabilitation programs, which will help see less people behind bars.