Society. Please meet the very
dysfunctional criminal justice system.
the radical truth (X): There has been a long and brutal history of keeping the inside of United States safe through controversial methods, models, and concepts. Collateral Consequences is a much-needed piece of the puzzle in facilitating dialog between the defendant, lawyers, judge and even society. The solution to ending crime has been right in front of us the whole time.
Laws that fail to protect its citizens’ rights and safety as forcefully as it stalks criminal justice is putting the general public in continued harm.
The collateral consequences of a conviction go well beyond the punishment by the courts.
The “collateral consequence” of a criminal record in the United States of America can last a lifetime and severely hinder one’s ability to find housing, employment, and education. These barriers to economic stability disproportionately affect communities of color, individuals from low-income backgrounds, and due to the high proliferation of criminal background checks, candidates with college degrees and experience are impacted as well. Being more aware of what is going to happen as a direct result of a criminal charge will allow everyone involved to see the bigger picture. Everyone must ask themselves if the punishment makes sense and does said punishment make sense five years from now.
Most individuals don’t even know what a felony is and how a felony is going to impact their lives. It’s the courts duty to explain the consequences before the punishment is given.
Basically, when you are about to get charged with a felony, before that happens the judge, lawyers, and you need to discuss how that felony will impact you moving forward after the punishment. A felony will mess with your life. Like your whole life. It will prevent you from getting the job you’ve always wanted. You will have difficulties getting that apartment or house you’ve been looking at that you can afford. You can kiss that beautiful relationship goodbye, why? Because they have the choice to say no to you because there are other options that don’t involve risk.
A second chance doesn’t mean anything if you didn’t learn from your first. But most felons need an unconditional second chance. Give them the tools to win.
War on Drugs & Tough on Crime
The “War on Drugs” and the “Tough on Crime” campaigns of the late 70’s and early 80’s caused more damage than good. The “Tough on Crime” campaign focused on public safety, leading to stiffer criminal codes. longer prison sentences, laws that facilitated police search and seizure, laws that made it more difficult to challenge a wrongful conviction, and harsher parole boards. The “War on Drugs” was an effort by the United States to combat illegal drug use by greatly increasing penalties, enforcement, and incarceration for drug offenders. We spent a trillion bucks trying to push these campaigns, what was accomplished? The population has slowly grown since the 1970s, but the crime rate is the same. So, essentially, nothing has changed the money we spent went to:
Punishment for Profit
There has always been private prisons. It just wasn’t a business until 1983. The public prisons were extremely overcrowded and had no money to house every inmate. Because of this, prisons started to become privatized in the early 1980s, leading the prison industry to go from a nonprofit model to a for-profit one. This led to a new wave of mass incarceration. Now, these prisons have a completely different angle. Why would they care about rehabilitation when without it they will lose tons of money. So, once the project was complete in the early 1990s crime was at its peak in the United States, and private prisons made tons of money and the United States threw money away:
Public safety suffers when we as a nation are not investing in the rehabilitative efforts of the individuals who are serving time or on probation or parole. These individuals are paying their debts back to society, should be learning new skills in jail or prison, and the crime rate in America should be going down. But they are still living under the shadow of a criminal record, they will eventually reoffend, and the cycle starts all over again. By investing in their rehabilitation, we can help these individuals re-enter society more prepared for success.
You do the crime, you do the time. Punish all you want. But teach us. Train us. Give us the tools we need.
Types of Punishment
There are so many forms of punishment. From a slap on the wrist all the way to an execution. Society judges who gets what depending on the severity of the offense. Here are some forms of punishment that we currently have in our criminal justice system:
This was one of the first types of punishment and basically followed the “an eye for an eye” principle. Retribution proponents contend that knowing a criminal received the right amount of punishment for the offense they did offers victims of crime or society at large a sense of satisfaction. These acceptable degrees of punishment, which can range from speeding ticket fine amounts to obligatory prison terms for certain offenses, must be decided by legislators.
Deterrence tries to prevent future crime and can be focused on both particular and broad deterrence. Specific deterrence is concerned with making an individual less inclined to conduct a future crime out of fear of receiving a comparable or harsher penalty. The influence on individuals in the public who become less likely to commit a crime after learning of the penalty received by another person is referred to as general deterrence.
“Generally speaking, punishment makes men hard and cold; it concentrates; it sharpens the feeling of alienation; it strengthens the power of resistance” –Friedrich Nietzsche
Rehabilitation aims to change a criminal’s conduct to avoid future crimes. This usually entails providing a variety of services while incarcerated, such as educational and vocational programs, treatment center placement, and mental health therapy. This technique also often allows judges to include rehabilitation programs as part of a criminal’s sentence. The objective is to reduce recidivism, or the number of persons who commit another crime after being released from jail.
This is another ancient method that is still widely used today. Simply put, incapacitating someone implies removing them from society. This involves confinement in a jail, home arrest, and, in the worst-case scenario, execution. Many believe that the fault with this method is that it does not address rehabilitation or recidivism, both of which are prevalent in communities that practice incapacity.
This unique approach to criminal justice requires the perpetrator to make direct apologies to both the victim and the community where the crime happened. Judges usually uses this strategy when dealing with young offenders. The criminal and the victim meet in this technique so that the offender may hear what the victim has to say about their perspective with the crime that was committed. The perpetrator then tries to make apologies and seek forgiveness.
The Conclusion For Now
Collateral Consequences play a major role in the criminal justice system’s process. It exposes it. Hopefully it will add value to it. To summarize what you just read, think regarding safety. 82% of individuals that commit crimes are felons in poverty, bouncing from hotel to hotel, trying to survive. As long as they get their money and drugs, it won’t matter who they harm. Now, what if that felon had a job waiting for them as they left prison and had a place to live? The chances of that individual reoffending go down to the single digits, which would cut recidivism by 70%.