1) The idea of probation started when courts saw the need to suspend the execution of sentences to enable defendants appeal to the monarch for pardon. Courts further saw the need to allow defendants to reform by the time of sentencing. The advantages of probation include the provision of opportunities for reform by low-risk offenders in lieu of imprisonment. Probation also protects defendants’ employment and societal stability. Probation is also cheaper than incarceration, which costs taxpayers hundreds of dollars per day for each offender. Modern probation includes new forms such as diversion programs and electronic monitoring. Electronic monitoring decongests state and federal prisons by diverting low-risk offenders from imprisonment (Weis, 2001). This form of probation uses tracking systems to provide accountability and victim protection. Diversion programs are run by the criminal justice system and enable offenders avoid criminal charges and criminal records. Offenders have to complete different requirements such as offer restitution to the victims, gain education to deter future offenses and complete community service hours. These changes have enhanced the rehabilitative capacities of the criminal justice system. However, they enhance the number first-time offenders since people typically consider such programs as lenient compared to imprisonment.
2) Corrections presently face a myriad of challenges such as budget cuts, which have forced some corrections facilities to shut down. The problem of overcrowding is also notable in corrections facilities and this adversely impacts the effectiveness of rehabilitation (Hopkins, 2001). Additionally, corrections facilities are also experiencing increased numbers of prisoners with mental health problems. Historical developments in corrections have led to increased populations in corrections facilities and the development of enhanced rehabilitative strategies. Areas of corrections that require new reforms include the budgetary process and funding provision. It is also critical for the justice system to reform the area of prison populations to deter overcrowding in corrections facilities. Corrections programs need to find innovative ways of rehabilitating prisoners with mental health issues.
3) Since the 20th century, there has been a growing number of young offenders, a vast majority being female offenders and gang and drug-related offenders. Young people such as adolescents are increasingly committing violent crimes. The justice system is presently treating some young violent offenders as adult offenders. Additionally, the justice system is providing individualized services and treatment to delinquents that enter the juvenile justice system. Moreover, the juvenile system has shifted away from the conventional emphasis on rehabilitation toward tougher and highly punitive treatment of delinquents such as adult handling. State and federal legislatures are also rebalancing approaches to delinquency and juvenile crime in order to establish methods, which produce effective results for juvenile offenders at low cost (Del Carmen & Trulson, 2005). These changes have significantly lowered the rates of juvenile crimes committed in most states. Harsher treatment of juvenile offenders has also reduced the rate of first-time offenders who enter the justice system. However, the treatment of juvenile offenders as adults, is a contentious issue, which has diminished public support and trust in the justice system.
4) The growing incidents of cybercrimes, terrorism and white collar crimes has transformed police work since instead of merely focusing on felonies and misdemeanors, police officers are now called to play a role in protecting Americans from technology-based crimes. Additionally police officers from different levels are now required to work cooperatively to protect Americans from these crimes. Therefore, the invincible gap that once divided federal agencies from local agencies has now been bridged. The patriot act has changed police approaches, for instance, officers are allowed to utilize warrants issued under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to acquire records outside the district of issuance. Additionally, police officers do not require internet service providers (ISPs) to disclose content consumer records. Therefore, police officers have no right to demand these records since the patriot act allows ISPs to deny such disclosure (Welsh & Farrington, 2006). The positives of these changes include the increased cooperation of police, which results in higher imprisonment rates. This enhances the level of protection bestowed on the public. However, these crimes more difficult to detect compared to traditional crimes such as physical robbery, making it difficult for police officers to prevent injury to crime victims.
Del Carmen, R. V., & Trulson, C. R. (2005). Juvenile justice: The system, process, and the law. Boston: Cengage Learning.
Hopkins, B. R. (2001). An introduction to criminological theory. Criminal Justice Review, 377, 381.
Weis, R. (2001). Criminal justice. New York: Penguin Books Limited.
Welsh, B. C., & Farrington, D. P. (2006). Preventing crime: What works for children, offenders, victims and places. New York: Springer.