Essay on Federal vs. State Policy Comparison

1109 Words Nov 19th, 2010 5 Pages
Comparison
Laws and policies are written in different aspects of the criminal justice system. Some of these policies are written within the federal government and some are written on a smaller scale in the state government. The two seem rather simple to understand on the surface. The federal government handles the entire United States whereas the state government handles just what it says and that is within that specific state, such as New Jersey (N.J.). The following paper will contain information which will compare and contrast the policies written from both types of governments and how they relate to the criminal justice system. There will be information on how these policies have been developed and how they are implemented. Some
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There is more difficulty in determining the federal system estimates. Federal sentencing guidelines were born in 1987 after the decision in Mistretta v. United States. Time sentenced and time imposed were brought closer together. There was an increase of the amount of offenders sentenced to prison and the average time they served (Wright, 2006).
There is a severity gap between federal and state prison sentencing. Prosecutors are able to pursue charges in whichever system they choose and this is because of the overlapping gap between the two prison systems. The choice between the two really does matter a great deal due to the gap (Wright, 2006). The gap is more visible when charges are similar to each other, such as crimes involving methamphetamine. For instance, a defendant who was charged with trafficking 50 grams of meth will be sentenced to anywhere from 70 months to 84 months in a North Carolina state prison, but in a federal prison could face anywhere from 120 months to life. The differences there are huge. A prosecutor looking to put the defendant away for a long time will likely look at getting the offender sent to the federal prison (Wright, 2006).
The gap that is seen between the two prisons systems is not always that big of a gap. Federal manslaughter under the United States Sentencing Guidelines “were lower than the authorized sentences for manslaughter in many states for many years (treating the federal guidelines maximum as the highest…