View Full Version : Early parole? Why?
07-09-2002, 05:12 AM
Why do we have 'time off for good behaviour?' Really?
Why would a man sentenced to 10 to 15 years be eligable to get out in, what?, 6 or 7 years? If the crime was bad enough to warrant a sentence a sentence of 10 to 15 years, seems like him getting out in 10 would be and early release. If the crime wasn't bad enough by itself to warrant him doing 10 years, then why sentence him that way?
Some may argue that it's incentive for good behavior. I would argue that bad behavior(crimes while inside) should result in longer stays. Good behaviour would mean he serves the lower range of his sentence. (at this point in the debate, if one actually starts, we should not yet concern ourselves with prison capacities and new prison construction. that can be save for later)
Wouldn't it be simpler all around if we knew the minimum time a convicted criminal would serve from hearing what he was sentenced to? I suggest that people actually do the time they are sentenced to. And a life sentence should exactly that, life in prison. If we don't want him to spend the rest of days behind bars, then he should be sentenced to, say, 20 to 25 years. But he would have to do at least 20.
What do you think?
BTW, I don't mean to sexist by using 'he'. 'She's' are in this too.
07-09-2002, 06:58 AM
Part of the reason for "time off for good behavior" is that the whole sentencing system is planned that way. I know that sounds circular, but let me explain, using NY sentences (since that's what I know) A person can be sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of, for example 2 years - 6 years. That person is (generally) eligible for parole after 2 years (earlier if they get into a shock incarceration program), will be conditionally released (time off for good behavior) after 4 years , and complete the sentence after the six years are completed. It would indeed be possible to change that whole structure to a flat sentence of x years, with or without a period of supervised release afterwards, My bet is if that is done, people will not be serving any more time, because the flat sentence is going to be somewhere between 2 and 4 years.While the general public may not know how much time a person will serve with a particular sentence,those working in the system (judges,DA's defense attorneys) do.
Even with such a flat sentence (which NY has for some crimes) there will still be "good time". A flat sentence of 8 years in NY results in serving 7 years. The other year , plus a period of post-release supervision is served as supervised release. It will be virtually impossible to completely get rid of good time, as it is not only an incentive for good behavior, but the loss of it is also a means to punish misbehavior. Misbehavior is not always a crime - if someone commits an assault while in prison, there's a good chance they will be re-arrested and end up with an additional sentence. But being "out of place" or failing to comply with an order is not a crime, and for a crime like petty larceny it's easier and less expensive to have a disciplinary hearing resulting in the loss of one month's good time than to go through a new arrest which is likely to result in the same thirty day sentence.
It would be simpler, I suppose, if the general public could tell from a sentence exactly how much time a sentence really meant. I don't really think it's going to happen. Politicians choose their words carefully, and the media either don't ask the right questions or don't want to get into explaining everything. I recall hearing our politicians a few years ago yelling "No parole for violent felons" Okay, there isn't any more parole for violent felons. The politicians didn't mention that they would still be conditionally released, the media never mentioned it, and I'd be willing to bet the average person thinks an eight year sentence means the person will serve 8 years in prison.
07-09-2002, 09:30 AM
Originally posted by spooje
Some may argue that it's incentive for good behavior. I would argue that bad behavior(crimes while inside) should result in longer stays. Good behaviour would mean he serves the lower range of his sentence.
You run into a constitutional problem here, spooje. Giving an inmate additional time requires due process. The warden cannot arbitrarily lengthen a sentence. The cost of a jury trial for every time an inmate mouths back to a guard or refuses to work on the laundry detail would be prohibitive.
Qadgop the Mercotan
07-09-2002, 09:50 AM
In our system, bad behavior can lose the inmate the time off you've accumulated for good behavior, and can result in the inmate spending his time in the segregation unit with minimal facilities and activities. But as Sua points out, time beyond the judicial sentence can't be added on without some new criminal offense.
Also, an infraction in prison which can result in loss of good time and time spent in segregation is not necessary a criminal infraction. If an inmate fails to obey a legal order from a security officer (or a prison doctor :D), it's not a criminally prosecutable offense, but can affect how they spend their sentence.
Keep in mind also that many felons are sentenced to x years of supervision by the Dept. Of Corrections which may be spent in varying places such as Supermax, Max, Medium, or Minimum security facilities, in addition to the possibility of home monitoring, probation, and parole. How much time they spend in what type of setting depends on multiple factors, such as the inmate's behavior, the needs of the prison facility and society as a whole, etc. etc.
Since my state (Wisconsin) has reduced the flexibility of the sentencing judge and the correctional system by passing laws such as "truth in sentencing" the result has been a tremendous upsurge in the imprisoned population, requiring the building of more prisons, shipping prisoners out of state to be housed because of lack of space here (at a fairly high cost), and a soaring budget which is on its way to becoming the single largest item on the entire state's budget. It costs over $25K to incarcerate an inmate for a year. We must really think about how much we need a particular offender to be incarcerated, given that we pick up the steep tab for their stay.
07-16-2002, 11:11 PM
Another fact, pure and simple, is money. There simply isn't the funding or the space to keept these people. The less time we have to have them, the better. It costs approximately $22,000 to take care of one prisoner/year, and the cells are already overcrowded.
07-16-2002, 11:13 PM
Money doesn't have much to do with it. It has to do with the fact that prisoners outnumber guards by a lot. It's in the interest of everyone to give an inmate an extra incentive to be good. Simple as that.
07-16-2002, 11:49 PM
And remember..for federal crimes there is no early release.
vBulletin® v3.7.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.