What do you make of a system that locks people up for profit?
Incarceration is a sensitive issue in the criminal justice system of all states, especially in this era when the criminologists are championing for rehabilitation. Still, Louisiana is recognized as the prison capital of the world. The motivation behind this fact is quite obvious – profit. In the year 1990 a federal court ordered Louisiana to do something about the rising prison population – either to employ policies that would ensure decongestion or to build more prisons (Chang, 2012). The latter option appeared more appealing to the unscrupulous leaders that subordinated wider interest to personal gains. In my opinion, it is against ethics and social morals to imprison people for profit. It is against natural justice and ethical considerations to imprison people for the sake of enriching private individuals. I make an unethical institution out of any system that would uphold such practices because, by expanding private sector prisons, the state spends more on the unproductive activity that is imprisonment at the expense of such useful things as education, healthcare and highway construction (Jacobson, 2006).
According to Burk Foster, an expert in Louisiana prisons and a former lecturer at the University of Louisiana, the system of imprisoning people for profits promotes corruption since not only the rich sheriffs are interested in the cash generating network, but also judges, law enforcers and other stakeholders of the criminal justice system (Chang, 2012). This has corrupted even the highest offices. For instance, in four years in office, governor Jindal had only acquitted a single prisoner. Ironically, Louisiana has among the lowest crimes rates. Summarily, I am strongly opposed to the Louisiana system of prisons because it compromises the efforts aimed at prioritizing the wider interest. It is a social evil as it breaks families unnecessarily, robs the state of labor and makes the residents of the state appear like lesser beings as opposed to their counterparts in other states.
Minnesota sentencing Guidelines
According to the Minnesota sentencing guidelines, in the case of the burglary, I would sentence the offender to 23 months imprisonment. According to the guidelines, the sentence is limited to 23 months with no court discretion (Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission, 2012). This is evident from the grid of offenses. The months sum up to twenty three because the offender in this case is a second time offender according to records.
In the second case, where the offender is guilty of cybercrime, which translates to simple theft, I would impose a sentence of 1year and 1 day (indicated on the grid as 121). This is because, first, the offender has no criminal history, and secondly, the court has no discretion to extend or reduce the sentence.
In the third case, where the offender has a criminal record showing that he has been to prison a couple of times on charges of robbery, I would impose a sentence of 346 months, with a discretion of reducing it to 295 months or extending it to 415 months, as provided by the Minnesota sentencing guidelines (Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission, 2012). Such discretionary powers are effective for the serious felonies.
In my opinion, the sentencing guidelines of Minnesota are exceptionally fair. The main reason why I believe so, is because, the take into consideration the issue of recidivism. Multiple time offenders should be punished more punitively so as to reduce the rates of recidivism (Samaha, 2014). The guidelines are also fair since they give discretionary power to the judges. This is quite important, especially in serious felonies where the offenders are associated with varying circumstances.
Chang Cindy. (2012, 13th May). Louisiana is the world's prison capital. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved from: http://blog.nola.com/crime_impact/print.html?entry=/2012/05/louisiana_is_the_worlds_prison.html
Jacobson, M. (2006). Downsizing prisons: How to reduce crime and end mass incarceration. New York: New York University Press.
Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission. (2012, august 1). Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines & Commentary. Saint Paul, Minnesota. Retrieved from: http://mn.gov/sentencing-guidelines/images/2012%2520Guidelines.pdf on the 22nd day of July 2013
Samaha, J. (2014). Criminal law. Belmont: Wadsworth.