Prison Term Policy Recommendation

Topics: Criminal law, Crime, Three strikes law Pages: 5 (1235 words) Published: February 9, 2007

This author will discuss a prison term policy recommendation by a criminologist advisor for a member of the state legislature. The compiled research data will justify the introduction of a bill that would double the maximum prison term for armed robbery. The state legislature member concedes that the bill is very popular with the voters but is concerned whether the bill will make a difference in deterring the crime of armed robbery.

Prison Term Policy Recommendation

It is the responsibility for members of the state legislature to thoroughly research whether a bill to double the maximum prison term for any person convicted of armed robbery will be an effective deterrent to future crimes. The data compiled will present the positive and negative aspects of the proposed bill. Therefore, the criminologist advisor will compile an unbiased study of the current laws, consequences, and data necessary to make a recommendation.

This author will be the criminologist advisor for the Texas state legislature member. As the state's advisor, this author will present the prison term policy as it stands for armed robbery and the authors' recommendation for the change; included will be the incorporation of the Three-Strikes Law to aid in the punishment stage.

Armed Robbery Definition

Robbery, by definition, is someone taking another's person's property by the use of intimidation or violent force. Armed robbery is defined as robbery at gun point or with the use or the intent of a weapon. This definition is given to better understand armed robbery, the severity of the crime, and why there is a need for a policy change (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2006).

Three Strikes Law

The three strikes law differs from state to state. In 1990, the three strike law became very popular, causing a huge growth within the Texas prison system. With the popularity of the law, lawyers and law professionals had come to know the three strike law as the habitual offender law. The three strikes law states that a person convicted of a serious crime on three or more separate occasions will receive the maximum sentence possible. The reason for this law is automatic and longer incarceration periods for any person committing three or more felonies. The purpose is to promote public safety (Three strikes law, 2006).

Current Sentencing for Armed Robbery

As per the penal code, section 29.03, armed robbery is considered a First Degree Felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state institutional division for no less than 5 years and up to 99 years to life. A person found guilty may be ordered to pay a fine of up to, but not to exceed $10,000 (Texas Statute, 2006).

In 2005, according to the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for a population of 22,859,968 a total of 35,790 robberies where reported in the state of Texas at a rate of 156.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. Texas is second in the nation as reported by UCR for robbery. When participating law enforcement officials report data to the UCR, they combined robbery and armed robbery together to form these totals. Texas has reported one of the highest rates for recidivism and the chance of an offender returning to the criminal justice system is likely to occur within the first five years after their release. Convicted felons that serve more than a five year sentence have a significantly lower re-arrest rate in all crime categories (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2006).

Purposed Sentencing

Within the court system, the judge makes sentencing decisions for any person convicted of armed robbery based on the criteria that follows. The extent of the sentencing depends on several different factors including the severity of the crime committed, state, and/or federal regulations. The personal discretion of the judge hearing and sentencing the case is also a contributing factor. The judge presiding over any case involving armed robbery must consider determinate and indeterminate sentencing. A...
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