Carrots & Sticks


There is no denying it: murder and rape are heinous offenses and must be dealt with carefully. Individuals who commit such offenses pose unique safety concerns to the greater community. The ways in which we deal with individuals convicted of homicide and sexual assault are vital to the system as a whole.

That said, how long should these individuals be locked up? Should they be allowed to spend a part of their sentence in the community? Should all persons convicted of homicide or sexual assault serve prison time? Moreover, with an awareness that variances exist regarding homicide and sexual assault ¬†types (see article), should we treat all offenders alike? Click and read the ARTICLE¬†and let me know how you feel about the author’s opinion and why.

15 responses to “Carrots & Sticks”

  1. Michael Brody says:

    Homicide and sexual assault are two examples of crimes that require careful attention. In general, I believe it is absolutely critical to look at the totality of circumstances for each unique case.

    The amount of time these offenders are to be locked up depends upon the degree of harm inflicted on a victim(s). For instance, the rape example cited in the article should be handled totally different–with a less harsh punishment–than a rape between two legal adults, especially if a death results. Coker v. Georgia is a Supreme Court case that took a rather bright line dealing with rape cases.

    So, yes, I believe all persons convicted of homicide or sexual assault serve prison time–up to life for the most heinous offenders. However, as stated above, we should not treat all offenders alike, and I think the author’s opinion supports this notion. Consequently, I agree with the author’s stance, in part. I would not be so liberal with parole privileges and the like. I would rather have individuals convicted of homicide and sexual assault sitting in prison rather than individuals who have committed nonviolent drug offenses.

    In sum, youths who have committed these acts should be evaluated with more compassion and sympathy versus adults, but even that is sometimes hard to do.

  2. Kelsey Schoenherr says:

    Every single case is different, which means that every single case should be dealt with differently. The example given in the article regarding, consensual sex under the age of 18 should be handled differently than a case of a minor being raped or killed. The degree of the crime should strongly represent the criminal’s sentencing.
    I also agree with the assessments that the article touched base on. I think that every single person should have to go through an assessment process and should be monitored from the time they are taken into custody to the time they get to leave prison and attempt living in society again.
    With that being said, I also think that joining society again would be healthy for some criminals that committed minor offenses, but for some perpetrators it would just be too risky to let them out.
    I think that they should have a program that finds criminals a job outside of the prison walls, and they can slowly be submerged into the real world before being tossed in with most likely no family, no job, and no place to live.
    I think if prison’s helped analyze criminals as they slowly make their way back into society then there would be a greater success rate rather than having them commit more crimes and be sent back to prison.
    I would say that it all depends on the crime, criminal, and whether they want to change their life – because if they don’t want to change to become a member of society again, then their is no way of telling that they wouldn’t commit the crime again.

  3. Paxton Bergin says:

    I think that each homicide and each rape is different. There are people who go out of their way to rape for pleasure and to cause others pain and there are those that the article pointed out that have consensual sex with a minor. I would consider the first a heinous crime of passion while calling the latter “wrong place wrong time”. The same idea goes for murder/homicide. First degree intentional homicide, the premeditated crazy, deserves the full sentence as compared to the, got into a quarrel and killed a person because I hit him just right. It is hard to dish out punishments because the purpose of it is to compensate a victim for a loss, but if each person or family feels their loss is worth something different it is hard to keep uniformity within the system which is a vital way of how it operates.

    Unfortunately because these are considered violent offenses we cant treat the situations differently. Society can try to say “well release all the non violent offenders” and they would get several thousand drug related charges released but they would not get the “rapist” who consented with his 17 year old girl friend, or the “murderer” who killed someone in an accidental fight that was escalated too quickly. I agree with that author when they state that putting all our fruit in one basket can be bad for both the individual doing time for and for society when they get out. Lock up the worst of the worst and rehabilitate those who still have hope.

  4. tiarra merrill says:

    I totally agree with everyone on this comment. There should be different punishments for different crimes being committed. You see now that a lot of sex offenders on young children are getting lesser time then a drug dealer. I think our system is really corrupted when it comes to sentencing. People are getting long sentencing for minor crimes. I think in this circumstance that the reform program would be great to help rehabilitate individuals. Help them reintegrate back into society and not become a target.

    I think that when it comes to sex offenders and murders that you can put them into the same bracket both our harsh offenses that should be punished harshly. Everyone deserves a second chance at life but these individuals should get 20 plus years. after they serve their 20 years they could be considered for parole but monitored throughout the whole process and after to make sure that they are ready for society and will not recommit their offense. This becomes hard when you have cases like the minor incident.

    I do not believe that there should be an age separation between the victim of child sexual assault and the suspect before prosecuting these cases; the law states that children under the age of 18 are not able to give consent; there should be modifications to this law so that parents and other people do not try to use this to their advantage. It will stop people from getting back at their mate or parents disliking the boyfriend or girlfriend so they take legal actions. The age separation should be considered only when there is consent between a 16 and 18 year old, there should be a two year separation.

  5. Jessica Kaemerer says:

    I think we cannot group rape and murder cases in the same category. There are different situations (like the examples in the article) that prove all offenders commit a crime under different intentions variances. There should not be a predetermined number of years a person should be locked up, I believe the punishment needs to depend of the extent of the crime details. The majority need to serve some jail or prison time to learn a lesson, but I also believe in letting them back out into the community for rehab purposes. If the offender breaks their parole, then their punishment needs to be a little more strict since they already were given a chance and they blew it.

  6. Kasey Miller says:

    There seems to be a lot of gray area when talking about how long the sentencing should be on an individual. The article talked about this slightly. They talked about how it really depends on the on certain case itself. Some cases should have a longer sentencing due to the extreme circumstances that may have occurred. I watched a video of Germany and how different their correctional system is compared to ours. They had individuals who were convicted of murder that could leave the prison on the weekends. They had freedom and were able to slowly be put back into society. This actually leads into the next question, which is should everyone convicted of homicide or sexual assault serve prison time? This is a difficult question to answer because we have never done anything but punish people by serving time for so many years now. This goes back to the stance that everyone has a different and unique situation and case presented. I personally do not believe all offenders should be treated the same. I think there are many different variables that come in to play in any given case to make it different from the next. So the sentencing should be different pertaining to each case as well.

  7. Sydney Hanick says:

    Every case needs to be treated with the same time, effort, and research as the most popular criminal cases are. Prison and jail time are not a small enough deal to risk misjudging a case. Every element needs to be looked at as far as it can be. I’m a firm believer that repetitive crimes are a form of mental illness. Instead of taking a mentally ill person and putting them in one of the most hostile environments possible, we need to find a means of recovery. However, there are some criminals who act upon pure pleasure and satisfaction. These are the criminals that need to learn, through systems like prison. However, I do believe they should still have high hopes for getting back out into society.

  8. Brandon Layber says:

    While I believe that offenders have the ability to transcend themselves into productive and peaceful members within their community, I also believe in equal justice. Sentencing length lies more in the hands of the prosecutor and defense attorney where a conclusion can be reached on the severity of the felony the perpetrator was accused of. For example, manslaughter is unintentional, lacking premeditation, and has different punishment than first degree murder, where the person intentionally planned and killed the innocent victim. Any major felony such as homicide or sexual assault I believe deserves time spent in prison. The length spent incarcerated should differ depending on the degree of the felony. One of the main problems with the conclusion of these cases in court is the lack of focus on rehabilitation. In my own opinion incarceration is necessary but rehabilitation is just as important. Once a social worker deems that an inmate is suitable to start a rehabilitation process, the case should be brought back to court where the type of rehabilitation/community service should be assigned. Putting a person on house arrest, community service, or consistent meetings in rehabilitation facility would help bring the member slowly back to their own community. Determinate sentencing should be removed and the criminal justice system should be pulling those out of incarceration that may be deemed suitable to be back in their community.

  9. Katie Bucher says:

    I think it is wrong to set predetermined prison sentences. I believe that each case is unique. I agree with the use of parole because it gives prisoners the motivation to be on their best behavior. With parole, I believe that prisoners have the glimmer of hope that they can get out of the horrible situation that they put themselves in. People who commit heinous crimes, deserve heinous punishments, but if they are not given the opportunity to show that they have learned from their mistakes, how is society supposed to know that our punishments are worthwhile. I think that the prison sentence and parole should be determined on a case by case basis. Parole should give the prisoner the opportunity to make positive changes, and should be punished if he or she breaks the rules set by the parole agent.

  10. Shannon Lefebvre says:

    I think that rape and murder should not be grouped together when it comes to decided a sentence. Murder is bad, no matter what the situation was, but yes every circumstance is different so every case should be looked at individually. I think that rape is just as bad depending on the situation. But like the article stated, a man could be convicted of rape if the woman is underage but gave consent, so situations like this the punishment shouldn’t be harsh. She gave consent so what the man did really isn’t a rape case. However if we look at today’s pressing issue with rape and Brock Tuner, I think that his sentence was a joke. He was given half the time that parole thought he should have, and he still was only in jail for half of his sentence. His case found him guilty, because of eye witnesses, DNA, etc., but he was given a small sentence. It is almost hard to determine which cases should be given longer sentences and which should be given a short sentence and parole.

  11. Tim Dies says:

    This article provides many good points as to why we should and do allow parole in our court systems. With the increase in prison populations in makes sense now more than ever to allow the usage of parole for non-violent and/or first time offenders at the very least. The author also provides some interesting points that i have never though about how people who commit rapes or murders aren’t always committing it in the same way. There are many ways in which a person can be charged for rape and there are many reasons why someone would want to murder someone else. With so many factors it is hard to label all rapists and murders under the same category by not allowing bail. That being said these two crimes are extremely strong crimes to be convicted of and and i dont think we should be handing out paroles left and right to anyone who desires it. The last big point that i like that he brings up is the fact that taking out parole removes incentives for people who wish to have good behavior in the hopes that they can get out of prison early.Taking away incentives for good behavior is only going to allow the bad behavior to come out more often.If we want to ease the strain on our prison systems we should keep the parole system in place as it is.

  12. Trenisha Battiste says:

    These individuals should be locked up for a long time because there doing stuff to murder one another. Sexual assault offenders should spend the rest of there life in jail. For certain types of murders they should be locked up for a long time also. I think these individuals need to spend time in a secluded area away from people that they could potentially hurt. Nobody wants to live in fear because they have a neighbor that could potentially hurt them next door. The more that we be easy with these criminals, the more likely we are going to be hurt by these criminals. I know some criminals don’t mean to commit the crimes that they have done, and of course they should have a second chance in the outside world. But some people just commit crimes on purpose and for that they don’t deserve a second chance.

  13. Adam Earle says:

    After reading this article, I don’t think that we should throw all these crimes under the same blanket. I think that it is important to look at the cases by themselves. I feel that there will be some crimes that will be able to be grouped together. Also I think there needs to be more studying done into rehabilitation. I think that some criminals will be able to be rehabilitated easier than others. To those that are more easily rehabilitated, let those criminals have to opton of parol depending on the environment that they will be entering. Make sure that they have a job, a support system; try setting them up for success.

  14. Elizabeth Jackson says:

    Everyone below has very good arguments related to the severity of punishments and sentencing against rape crimes. There is some leniency within our system, however, with cases regarding a small age gap and consensual sex. If this wasn’t in place, then most high schoolers would be going to jail for being with their boyfriend/girlfriends. Rape cases on a different note, should indeed be treated the same as a murder charge. If you think about the intentions of the rapist, they have a similar mindset alike a murderer; they don’t care about the physical/ mental damage done to the individual. I am a strong believer in if they do it once, they will most likely do it again. Parole is an extreme grant to a convict that needs to be considered lightly amongst felons, because even though it sounds like a good idea to integrate back into society, it’s a dangerous zone to cross with individuals that have already done lengthy damage already.

  15. Tyler Smith says:

    Crime such as sexual assault and homicide definitely need to be looked at closely on a case by case basis. I agreed with the article when it mentioned “lumping all persons convicted of rape, murder or other heinous crime in the same basket will only add to the crisis in our prisons, which are overcrowded, understaffed and often mismanaged.” I believe that those convicted of crimes such as homicide should be locked up for a long while, but those convicted of sexual assault should not be locked up as long. However sexual assault should still come with a decent amount of prison time. According to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) there are about 750,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S., and I do believe that some of them would be alright to be an active member of society after proper rehabilitation and reintagration. I think that sex offenders should be monitored carefully after serving their time to make sure that they do not commit the crime again. Parole should also be granted to those who are nonviolent offenders such as those serving time for minor drug offenses.

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