Psychology And The Legal System. Paper 1. With Recent Legislative

1302 WordsFeb 22, 20176 Pages
Psychology and the Legal System Paper 1 With recent legislative issues making the news, one topic that has received a great deal of attention is that of indeterminate sentencing. This is the imposition of a sentence with no mandatory release date or set period of sentence to be served. Instead, one 's sentence length is determined by the inmate 's conduct while in prison. Upon successful completion of requirements the inmate may be returned to society, but it is possible that they will be kept behind bars for the remainder of his/her natural life. There are many issues that have come to light with indeterminate and determinate sentencing, such as how successful was the inmate? Is there really rehabilitation for sex offenders or drug…show more content…
The problem with indeterminate sentencing is that it often puts too much power into the hands of the parole board which then can lead to arbitrary and discriminatory results. It has been seen that minorities and prisoners without connections receive overly harsh decisions of the parole boards while less deserving offenders are being released early.(Portman, 2017) Even with some of the issues at hand indeterminate sentencing is making a comeback. This is now happening even more as our prisons are becoming overcrowded. In turn, allowing more room for judicial or parole board discretion. Prosecutors are exercising discretion when they decide which of many arrests to charge and for what particular crime. Juries exercise discretion in not convicting defendants who killed under circumstances that may have justified their actions. A jury may opt to exercise discretion when it deliberates the fate of the alleged perpetrator. Parole boards also have the opportunity to excise discretion when they decide whether to commute a death sentence to life imprisonment.(Greene, E., & Heilbrun, K. 2014 pg. 10 & 11) This is being seen in many states where rehabilitation is available and viewed as a reasonable attainable outcome for offenders. Determinate sentencing began to spread widely during the 1970s and 1980s and is now the rule in many states. (Portman, 2017) In the late 1970s, a rising crime rate, concern over individual rights, and a distrust of the government in the wake of

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