Prison Term Policy Recommendation

Abstract The purpose of this paper is to advise members of the state legislature with recommendations for new prison term policies to double the maximum prison term for any individual convicted of armed robbery. Although the state legislature concedes the bill is popular the concern is whether the bill will deter arm robberies. Prison Term Policy Recommendation In a few days the state legislature will be voting on a new bill to determine if the maximum prison term for anyone convicted of armed robbery should affect anyone convicted of armed robbery be given a double maximum sentence.

However, the effectiveness of double prison sentences as deterrence to first time and re-offenders is quite difficult to estimate. Many states define robbery as larceny or theft of money or property through the use of intimidation, physical force, or violence against a victim by the offender(s). When a weapon is used or the victim suffers injury, whereby the offender may be charged as aggravated or armed robbery.

Robbery is differentiated between armed robbery that involves the use of some type of weapon, and aggravated robbery that involves the use of a deadly weapon. Armed robbery is one of the most committed crimes in the United States that concerns legislatures, the entire criminal justice system, and society. All states punish armed robbery as a major or capital offense, whereas sentencing depending on many factors such as state laws and procedures, prior criminal history, whether there are any sentencing improvements, or whether the state has a diversion program.

For example a person (victim) is walking down the street a man (the robber) approaches and ask for the time when the victim looks at his watch and looks back up the robber has a gun in the victims face demanding money if the victim fails to give the robber his or her money the robber may shoot or hit the victim with the gun to obtain the money. In the early 1990s, legislation of many states (with the exception of Michigan) enacted mandatory sentencing for repeat offenders.

These laws became known as the three strikes laws, were invoked when an offender committed his or her third offense. The three strike law requires the courts to hand down an extended mandatory sentence of confinement. The belief behind the three strikes law was to target repeat or career offenders who repeatedly commit felonies posing a serious threat to society. Under the new law by 2001 California had more than 50,000 offenders sentenced than any other state with one fourth facing a minimum of 25 years in prison.

Although critics, maintained that these sentences are disproportionate to the crime perpetrated and would increase correctional costs, in March 2003 the United States Supreme Court rejected the argument of cruel and unusual punishment and upheld the three strikes laws. Michigan’s prisons population since 1973 has grown 474% faster than other states. In 1998 the Michigan legislatures enacted the Truth-in-Sentencing law, to be tougher on crime. During this time the violent crime rate in Michigan did not decrease and has continued to grow, and has spent more on correctional facilities than any of its surrounding states.