Legal Issues

Institutional Affiliation
Legal Issues
In the past, federal and state Government had indeterminate system of
sentencing, the legislature laid down maximum sentences, the judiciary
chose among the set sentences and issued imprisonment, fines and
probations. The officials at correction institutions monitored the
behaviours of the inmates and would upon good conduct of inmates grant
parole, and released offenders before completion of their prison
(Cromwell & Rolando, 1999). Decisions of every arm were immune to from
appellate courts.
In 1970s, the criminal justice process (from sentence to confinement)
came under review. David Fogel developed “rehabilitation” or
“Medical” model which postulated that individuals sent to prison
were sick and hence the justice system should aim at healing them. Fogel
argued that prisons should only deprive convicts freedom of movement,
and allow them all other rights accorded to free people. Additionally,
the offender would be given the right to choose the program of
rehabilitation that best suited him (Cromwell & Rolando, 1999).
David recommended a shift from the parole program and advocated for a
system where a prisoner would earn a reduction of his days by not
violating the set rules. The earned reduction would encourage
responsibility and good behaviour by offenders since this right would
not be taken away. Andrew von Hirsc was of the view that punishments
should be proportional to the crimes committed hence a severe punishment
for grave offences (Cromwell & Rolando,1999). It is evident that these
two based their theory on their background and hence proposed justice
systems aimed at perfecting their society.
Risk Assessment
Risk assessment is an appraisal performed on offenders to ascertain the
risks they may pose to the community should they be released back to the
community. These include clinical and actuarial assessment where
Clinical assessment is a mental health evaluation seeking to establish
the probable mental disability of the individual which may make the
individual be dangerous to the community. In actuarial appraisal, the
offenders’ characteristics are evaluated and their possible risk
established. Some of the characteristics which are evaluated include,
the known or suspected mental disabilities, individual’s education
level, employment status and the individual’s criminal history
(Cromwell & Rolando, 1999).
Risk assessment is a future forecast of offender’s behaviour hence
greatly contributes to successful parole. This is because only
relatively less harmful individuals are granted parole and in addition,
the probable dangers associated to individuals given parole are
established and thereby averted hence recent success in parole (Cromwell
& Rolando, 1999).
Reference
Cromwell, P. & Rolando, C. (1999).Community Based Corrections. Calif:
West/wadsworth.
LEGAL ISSUES
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