Criminal Justice Reform / Speech Paper with Outline and all Supplements. The need for extreme criminal justice reform in California

Topics: Crime, Criminal law, Criminal justice Pages: 11 (2706 words) Published: March 15, 1996

I. Basic Introduction and description

- Introduce basic sides of Criminal Law and Elaborate

II. General History and Development

- Discuss the history and modifications of Reform Laws in California

III. Main Problems and Concern Stimulants

- Point out real life statistics and point out incidents

IV. Conclusion

- Point out the need for an extreme reform and what can be done


I. An analysis of Department of Corrections data by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal

Justice in San Francisco, CA, in Nov, 1995 indicates that since the enactment of

California's 'Three Strikes' law two years ago, 192 have 'struck out' for marijuana

possession, compared to 40 for murder, 25 for rape, and 24 for kidnapping.

A. I have a strong proposition for the California Legislature...and that is a strict and logical reform to the present Criminal Justice System in California.

B. 'The California Legislature is to be commended for its stance on crime. Not for their 'get tough' policies such as the 'Three Strikes' law but for their enactment of a little known section of the Penal Code entitled the 'Community Based Punishment Act of 1994.' (Senator Quentin Kopp, Time Magazine Feb 14, 1996)

C. By passage of this act, the State of California has acknowledged the limitations of incarceration as both punishment and a deterrent to criminal behavior.

D. The legislature has in fact declared that 'California's criminal justice system is seriously out of balance in its heavy dependence upon prison facilities and jails for punishment and its lack of appropriate punishment for nonviolent offenders and substance abusers who could be successfully treated in appropriate, less restrictive programs without any increase in danger to the public'

II. More facts, Opinions and Developmental Ideas

A. In essence, this law proposes a community based system of intermediate restrictions for non-violent offenders that fall between jail time and traditional probation such as home detention with electronic monitoring, boot camps, mandatory community service and victim restitution, day reporting, and others.

B. Pilot programs are to be developed as a collaborative effort between the state and counties requiring a community based plan describing the sanctions and services to be provided.

C. A progress report on an actof this kind would be made by the California Board of Corrections on January 1, 1997 and annually thereafter to selected legislative committees.

III. Informatives

A. 'It seems clear that the California Legislature has determined that incarceration is not appropriate for many criminal offenses and that alternative sanctions are preferable for non-violent offenders. ' (Randy Meyer, Political Official)

B. But while this approach is to be applauded, its spreading prevents the fulfillment of its true potential.

C. 'By retaining those non-violent offenders that are currently in state prison and continuing to pursue defensive punishment at the local level in the form of short term 'shock incarceration' and bootcamps, the costly and ineffective methods of criminal behavior correction remain intact.' (Charles Calderon-US News)

D. By immediately eliminating incarceration for all non-violent offenses and requiring victim compensation and community service, resources can be committed to preventing crime rather than to the feeding and housing of offenders.

E. This is consistent with the findings of the legislature and is cost efficient, requires minimal systemic change, and increases public safety and security.

IV. The Proposal

A. 'Our current criminal justice system appears to be based upon the Old Testament proverb that 'your eye shall not pity; it shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.' Revenge thus plays a part of the punishment model.'

(LA Official Boland)

From a societal standpoint, we expect punishment to prevent the...
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