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Eliminate parole. Eliminate good time. Let criminals serve their entire sentence.
No doubt, defendants out of jail on bond awaiting trial commit crimes they would not commit if kept in jail.
No doubt, criminals on probation commit crimes they would not commit if sent to prison.
No doubt, criminals released from prison early on parole commit crimes they would not commit if kept in prison until they maxed out.
The fact is that without bond, probation, or parole, jails and prisons would overflow - even more than they are now and they are already bursting at the fortress seams.
Hard-liners want to put the maximum number of criminals in prison for the maximum number of years.
Realistic corrections officials know they cannot house a surge of new prisoners in existing institutions. They also know that the public balks at paying the high price of building expensive new prisons. Victims fall between the cracks.
The pendulum swings back and forth between competing interests and competing sentencing philosophies.
Set high bonds in violent cases and in drug dealing cases.
Don't give probation in violent cases not even to first-time offenders.
Eliminate parole. Let the judge set the exact number of years a criminal will serve - from a range set by the legislature. Then, let the criminal serve each and every moment of it.
We will need scads more prisons. Tax the public to build them. We have to pay a price for keeping dangerous criminals on ice. Guess what, if a rapist is in prison, he isn't going to rape the college girl on campus, the elderly woman next door, your daughter playing in a schoolyard, your sister out on a date, or you girls and women of America. Pay the price. It's worth it!
We are throwing billions and billions of bucks at the Department of Homeland Security to keep us safe from terrorists in far-off Afghanistan. Why are we stingy when it comes to isolating criminals who are terrorists of another sort - and who are a whole lot closer to home.
Provide educational programs and vocational programs for ALL prison inmates. They are the only programs that really reduce recidivism. It is money well-spent. If ex-cons can earn an honest living, they won't be so apt to run directly from prison to your door with burglary tools in hand.
Help newly released offenders find housing, find jobs, and get re-established in the community. Ya gotta have a reintegration plan for these criminals - for their sake AND YOURS! If you just open the prison gates and let a con walk out with $100 and no job or place to live, you have a guaranteed repeat-offender on your hands. When that happens and it happens all the time CITIZENS BEWARE you are victims in the making - soon to lose life, limb, property, or any combination thereof!
EDITOR'S NOTE: The position paper offering extensive detail from this former prosecutor is available to the media upon request. Also, requests for Q & A appearances should be made at least 15 days in advance. In the case of breaking news involving a parole issue, exceptions will be made. All inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2008 C.A. Nix