Term Paper: Criminal Justice Explain Community Corrections

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Criminal Justice

Explain community corrections and what purpose it fulfills in the overall field of criminal justice. Identify and describe programs and services that are usually found in community corrections. Discuss what you feel are strengths and weaknesses of community corrections programs.

Community corrections programs are rehabilitative programs that attempt to slowly reintegrate offenders designated for release into the community, though a series of graduated steps, such as halfway houses or allowing inmates to find employment within the community. The Federal Bureau of Prisons makes community corrections an integral component of the Bureau's correctional programs and often acts as a liaison for state and local groups with similar programs. "The Bureau contracts with residential re-entry centers (RRCs), also known as halfway houses, to provide assistance to inmates who are nearing release. RRCs provide a safe, structured, supervised environment, as well as employment counseling, job placement, financial management assistance, and other programs and services. RRCs help inmates gradually rebuild their ties to the community and facilitate supervising offenders' activities during this readjustment phase. An important component of the RRC program is transitional drug abuse treatment for inmates who have completed residential substance abuse treatment program while confined in a Bureau institution" ("Community corrections," 2008, Federal Bureau of Prisons).

Requirements for individuals in such programs are far stricter than released prisoners on parole. Inmates in a RRC are still in custody and are monitored on a 24-hour-a-day basis, just like formally incarcerated prisoners. These prisoners are required to be employed full time, to pay a fee for their housing and medical care, and to receive drug testing and counseling, if they have a record of substance abuse. Through such programs, inmates gain valuable work experience. This will make finding employment easier when they return to society as free individuals. They can receive the benefit of having the structure of budgeting, paying rent, and keeping a regular schedule, all of which they may not have had in prison as a full-time inmate. Their earnings and the fact they have to cover their own medical expenses can defray some of the costs of full-time incarceration.

For individuals requiring more supervision and counseling, Comprehensive Sanction Centers (CSCs) may be a better alternative. "While similar to RRCs, CSCs offer a more structured system for granting inmates gradual access to the community: for example, CSCs have five levels of supervision, ranging from 24-hour confinement," similar to a prison, "to home confinement...CSCs also require that inmates participate in more programs. They may include an intensive treatment component consisting of substance abuse education, life skills training, mental health counseling, education, employment assistance, and monitoring"("Community corrections,"2008, Federal Bureau of Prisons).

The advantage of CSCs is that they allow for individualized treatment and services for inmates, tailored to each prisoner's rehabilitative or psychological needs. Finally, "home confinement is a generic term used to cover all circumstances under which an inmate is required to remain at home during non-working hours of the day" except when working, and is monitored by an electronic bracelet ("Community corrections," 2008, Federal Bureau of Prisons). This is the least restrictive form of community corrections.

The advantages of these diverse community corrections programs are many. A prisoner is often exposed to a highly artificial environment in prison, socializing mainly with other prisoners. These programs reintegrate the individual into the relatively more normalized work environment slowly, decreasing the risk of recidivism. These programs also acknowledge the substantial impact substance abuse and psychological difficulties can play upon an individual's future, and provide support and counseling as well as place punitive restrictions on an inmates' behavior. The programs require the prisoner to take responsibility for paying rent, and remaining employed. The only possible critique that might be made is that by requiring prisoners to pay for the cost of their healthcare, prisoners may not be able to afford costly but helpful psychotropic medications and that this might unfairly penalize prisoners suffering from chronic physical and mental ailments, or simply prisoners not able to find jobs that provide extensive health coverage. Also, including more job training education components to such programs might help prisoners find more lucrative employment, which would decrease the financial allure of pursuing a life of crime.

Question

Explain the formal juvenile justice "process" that would ensue if a 15-year-old youth was caught and arrested for armed robbery of a fast food restaurant.

Armed robbery, unlike, for example, truancy, or running away from home, is not a status offense, or a crime that is only a crime because it is committed by a juvenile. All states allow juveniles to be tried as adults in criminal court under certain circumstances for certain types of non-status offenses. "In many states, the legislature statutorily excludes certain (usually serious) offenses from the jurisdiction of the juvenile court regardless of the age of the accused. In some states and at the federal level under certain circumstances, prosecutors have the discretion to either file criminal charges against the juvenile directly in adult criminal courts or proceed through the juvenile justice process. The juvenile court's intake department or the prosecutor may petition the juvenile court to waive jurisdiction to adult criminal court, or the juvenile court may order referral to criminal court for trial as adults. In some jurisdictions, juveniles processed as adults may, upon conviction, be sentenced to either an adult or a juvenile facility" (the Juvenile Justice System," Law Info, 2007)

In this instance, the prosecutor would review the case. The decided jurisdiction of case might be doubtful, given that the offender was an adolescent, not a child, but was not on the cusp of adulthood (i.e., he was not 17). The circumstances behind the robbery (was the boy goaded on to do it by an older friend, did he do it as part of a gang initiation, etc.) would all be taken into consideration when determining how to proceed and what venue was most appropriate. if, in this case, the juvenile court retained jurisdiction, the case would come before a court with more sentencing discretion than adult courts. "In addition to such options as probation, commitment to a residential facility, restitution, or fines, state laws grant juvenile courts the power to order removal of children from their homes to foster homes or treatment facilities. Juvenile courts also may order participation in special programs aimed at shoplifting prevention, drug counseling, or driver education." (the Juvenile Justice System," Law Info, 2007). The focus of the juvenile justice system is always rehabilitation, rather than retribution. However, given the seriousness of the offense, the defendant might be classified as a youthful offender and receive an extended sentences not usually granted to a juvenile ("The Juvenile Justice System," Law Info, 2007)

Question

Think about what you learned in your studies regarding predictions on future trends in law enforcement. Describe three of the "predictions" that you feel would greatly enhance law enforcement services in the next decade. Explain and support why you chose these predictions.

Given the recent concerns about racial tensions between the police force and the communities they are policing, community policing and neighborhood watches will become the dominant philosophy behind everyday policing in the future. "Community policing offers a way for the police and the community to work together to resolve the serious problems that exist in these neighborhoods. Only when community members believe the police are genuinely interested in community perspectives and problems will they begin to view the police as a part of that community" ("Understanding community policing," 1994, Bureau of Justice Assistance).

Individuals seeking to live in a safer community, but who may mistrust the police, will be recruited to become part of neighborhood watch groups. Establishing a less confrontational but visible and friendly police presence in crime-ridden communities will also be a priority in the future. Recruiting individuals from a community that is plagued by crime to become part of the police force will become a focus of new recruitment efforts. This can create less heightened tensions between representations of the law and the populace. No law-abiding citizen wants to live in a crime-ridden neighborhood, and suffering neighborhoods can benefit from more stringent legal enforcement, but communities must not feel racially or socioeconomically profiled. Recruitment of officers from the community combined with neighborhood watch groups can deflate tensions between the police and community members.

Because of concerns about homeland security, undercover infiltration of possible terrorist cells will become a necessity. This will also require new recruitment efforts, specifically of individuals who can speak Arabic and who can blend into such organizations and keep careful watch of the threats they pose to the community. The law enforcement community cannot have a hostile attitude to Arab and Muslim nationals who are law-abiding; rather it must use these individuals to become more effective in addressing the problem of terrorism by recruiting members of the community to serve as undercover agents for law enforcement agencies

Thirdly, border security will come to the forefront of law enforcement concerns. The next president's attitude towards immigration and changes in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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