Respond to these law posts from students

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Post #1: Fixing the System

“In the documentary, Fixing the System (Smith, 2015), President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison to see and hear for himself from the inmates who were serving mandatory sentences for non-violent drug offense convictions. Some of the inmates were serving life sentences for drug offenses due to mandatory sentencing that was put into place by Congress in October 1986 (Smith, 2015). These mandatory sentences were decided upon nearly twenty-five years ago and could be re-evaluated. As an alternative, those non-violent offenders that are incarcerated in the federal system may need to serve a minimum number of years then introduced slowly back into the community to start their lives again.

I am also curious to know what the criminal history of the inmates was, if any, at the state and local level. I would like to know this information to see if there was any other criminal activity that led up to federal charges. Many times local law enforcement refers cases to federal agencies due to repeated similar offenses.”


Post #2: Prison Privatization

“Prison privatization is prisons owned by private entities for financial reasons due to the overcrowding in public prisons (Gaines & Miller, 2019). In this way, privatization does benefit by providing the needed space for inmates. Research done by Temple University found that the use of private prisons could save the state more money in the costs of operating public prisons (Gaines & Miller, 2019).

Prison privatization also has negatives. Some argue that there are no-cost differences between public and private prisons (Gaines & Miller, 2019). There are also safety concerns in that assaults against correction officers and prisoners are more likely to occur, as well as, misbehavior (Gaines & Miller, 2019). There is also the belief that prison sentences may be extended in private prisons due to manipulation of the prisoner conduct when it comes time for release so the prison could continue to receive funds for housing the prisoner (Gaines & Miller, 2019).

I support the use of privatization of prisons. If there is not much of a cost difference to use either one, I am for the continued use of them. If these prisons are not available where are the violent prisoners going to be placed that need to be incarcerated to ensure the safety of the community? A negative that was listed in Gaines & Miller (2019), was safety and misconduct. These issues can exist in any correctional facility. I also disagree with the belief that private prisons would find ways to extend inmate sentences, once an inmate has been released another will come with all the overcrowding that is reported.”


Post #3: Probation Decisions

A probation officer has the responsibility of establishing a professional working relationship with the probationer to successfully guide them through the conditions of probation (Gaines & Miller, 2019). Furthermore, it is important that the officer establishes the authority of the probationer (Gaines & Miller, 2019).

If I were the probation officer in this scenario, first I would not address the issue at that moment for safety and privacy of all. I would then allow the probationer an opportunity to self-report her actions. Whether she or her friends were consuming alcohol is irrelevant, she was in a prohibited establishment. One would assume if a person were given probation for committing a criminal offense that person would be following the conditions of probation to avoid a probation violation or the possibility of revocation. From there I also would take into consideration the probationer’s history before making a final decision.

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