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Analyze the impact that various sentencing models have had on corrections. As part of your analysis you must discuss at least two (2) different sentencing models.

Question: Analyze the impact that various sentencing models have had on corrections. As part of your analysis you must discuss at least two (2) different sentencing models.

The criminal justice system in America has been taunted to be among the best corrections systems in the world. The justice system has many players who take an active role in ensuring that people that commit crimes receive their intended punishments and are well rehabilitated. The leading players in the system include lawyers, the government and the courts of law. Sentencing models refer to the various jail terms that convicted criminals serve and which defer according to the severity of their crime. The models have been used to ensure that the correctional system runs smoothly. This paper will analyze the impact of five different models of the criminal justice system in America with great emphasis on the crime rates and prison populations.

The primary goals that the judicial system seeks to achieve through sentencing include rehabilitation, deterrence, incapacitation, and retribution. The current sentencing models can achieve only fraction of the goals and hence has a significant impact on the criminal justice. There are various types of sentencing models namely: determinant sentencing, structure sentencing, life sentences, maximum sentences, suspended sentence and many others(Spohn,2014). The following has been the main impact of the sentencing models on the corrections system in the nation

Increased corrections population

The number of prisoners today has doubled over the last half a century. Most of the state-run prisons are overcrowded, and the resources available are not able to sustain ethical standards of living for the prisoners. State prisons have been the most affected with an increase of about 90% in 1970 to 2000’s period. The allowance by the federal government to delegate lawmaking duties to state government was the main contributing factor(Spohn,2014). The southern part of America was the most affected with prison capacity increasing at a higher rate than the regions overall population. The policy changes that reduced prosecution on auto theft and bank robberies helped lower the number of prisoners in federal jails. The central government instead sought to focus more on white collar crimes which have been known to take longer to convict and whose sentences are usually shorter.

The increase is not only limited to prisons with also a recorded increase in the number of people on parole. In the late 90’s period, the number of parole and probation grew by a staggering 190% to bring the total correction population to about 4.1 million Americans. Prison populations also vary from state to state. The state of Texas currently has the highest number of prisoners due to its strict laws and policy on crime. Gender also plays a significant role in corrections with men being the more than women in prisons. Blacks also make up the most substantial portion of those that are incarcerated(Nowotny,2015). Through various studies conducted a black American male is more likely to get convicted of petty crimes as opposed to a white man.

The structured sentencing models have played a significant role in the increase in prison populations. The models refer to the classification of an offender based on the severity of one’s crime and their prior criminal records (Clear & Reisig,2018). Through the model, a judge bases the sentencing on the criminal history of the accused. Drug offenders make up the highest portion of prisoners due to the model. Ever since the rise in the drug trade in the 1980’s, the law judges harshly upon people found in possession of illegal drugs. People charged with drug-related offenses are often likely to be caught committing the same crime and thus more likely to receive higher sentences as opposed to other crimes.

Increased spending on corrections

The US government spends close to one hundred billion dollars on corrections more than it allocates to educations. The most significant portion of the money is spent on keeping the criminal in jail rather than rehabilitation. Most of the current rehabilitation programs that have been proposed are not implemented due to overcrowding in prisons, and the money is spent on providing basic needs for the inmates.  A Lot of money is also spent in the hiring of parole officers and running the boards in the different states. The power that prison authorities and parole board members have to ensure that they can mint more money from the state even if it does nothing substantial to improve the system (Clear & Reisig,2018). The fact that prisoners provide free labor has not helped ease the pressure on taxpayers. The government has been privatizing federal prisons in the recent past but the power that the private corporation have they make sure that no changes are made in sentencing and even push for stricter laws to increase the number of inmates within their institutions.

The mandatory sentencing model has also contributed heavily to such. The model states that if a person is caught committing any given crime for at least three felonies the offender receives a longer prison sentence. The model is mainly based on the minimum sentence of a particular crime. For example, drug offenses carry a minimum sentence of 10 years (Clear & Reisig,2018). Such a policy means that a repeated drug offender will get jailed for not less than ten years. Mandatory sentences also restrict the possibility of parole, and thus the government has to spend more on such individuals.

Crime rates

Many people would argue that the rate of crime has decreased due to the current sentencing models. However, the models discourage the rehabilitation and change of behavior of the criminal (Spohn,2014). Offenses are now taking part in prisons with the help of most authorities. We may feel safer because of the laws, but it does not mean that when released an inmate would not go back to carrying out the same crimes he or she was sentenced.

The use of the parole system has been instrumental in the change in crime rates. Parole refers to an offender remaining in public but, he or she has to meet specific requirements before being granted freedom. For example, a first time offender would most likely get granted parole depending on the severity of the crime. The system ensures that such people are kept in check through constant supervision. The parole officer also helps the people to gain meaningful employment and thus the reduced crime rates

In conclusion, though the corrections system in the US has many benefits, it is still not efficient. Many changes still need to be made to reduce the prison populations, and costs spent in corrections. The government should focus more on the needs of the community and not corporations that only seek to make profits. I would also propose the overhaul of the drug crime system, and new measures get created to fight the vice(Latessa,2015).


Clear, T. R., Reisig, M. D., & Cole, G. F. (2018). American corrections. Cengage Learning.

Latessa, E. J., & Smith, P. (2015). Corrections in the Community. Routledge.

Nowotny, K. M. (2015). Race/ethnic disparities in the utilization of treatment for drug dependent inmates in US State correctional facilities. Addictive behaviors40, 148-153.

Spohn, C. (2014). Twentieth‐Century Sentencing Reform Movement: Looking Backward, Moving Forward. Criminology & Public Policy13(4), 535-545.



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