police and their effect on prison population







Because of the increase in crime in America, the public has demanded an increase in the amount of protection received from police. This increase in police protection has increased the incarceration level by numerous amounts within the last ten years. The number of inmates incarcerated in America is a direct cause of the policing that is going on in the streets of American cities. The method of policing has a tremendous impact on the outcome of the situation, meaning the type of policing determines the amount of arrests mad and the amount of inmates incarcerated. The historical pattern of prison sentencing has always shown that the offenders almost always served a much shorter sentence than the amount of time they were given by the court. Prisoners have always had different methods available to assist in decreasing the amount of time they have to serve. Many were released on parole after serving possibly less than 40 percent of their sentence. There was also time suspended due to good behavior which put the criminals back on the street. Offenders could be allowed work credits which could go towards their early release. This was considered the normal practices of prison up until the end of the 20th century. Around this time the citizens of cities started complaining more and demanding more police intervention and less crime. In 1994 laws were implemented that made it harder and in some cases impossible to be released from prison without serving at least 85 percent of their original sentence assigned by the court. This new policy has been implemented at the state and federal levels. Though history has shown an extensive pattern of early release, this pattern has come to an end because of the new laws set forth in America.
Before 1984 the laws mandating prisons were not very effective in keeping offenders incarcerated, which was considered intolerable by the community. Experiments done on the effectiveness of police during the 1970’s showed that traditional methods of policing were not effective in decreasing the amount of crime on the streets. Until the early 1970’s most states used the indeterminate sentencing method which allowed parole boards the authority to allow offenders to be released early. The idea of indeterminate sentencing came about in the mid-1800’s and was preferred over determinate sentencing because determinate sentencing allowed no room for reform. Because of the dissatisfaction with indeterminate sentencing and the pressure for longer sentencing, there was a policy implemented in the 1980’s which made it mandatory to have a guide for the minimum amount of time served as well as new sentencing guidelines. This method caused inmates to serve more time and because of this, there became a problem with overcrowding. To alleviate the overcrowding, inmates were then available to get sentence reduction because of good behavior and also with certain work programs they could be released early by the building up of earned time credit. In 1984 the first truth in sentencing laws were in acted. These laws required that prisoners serve a substantial portion of their sentence. To ensure that offenders served the majority of their sentence, the violent crime control and law enforcement act of 1994 were passed. This act allowed additional funding for state prisons and jails. It also restricted and in many instances eliminated release for good behavior and good time credits. The three strikes and you’re out laws, in many states, require life imprisonment for third time a felony offenders. In some states offenders only have two strikes before being sentenced. The abolishment of parole in at least fourteen states has also made the percentage of inmates released less. By implementing sentencing requirements, the abolishment of parole, along with other sentencing restrictions and incentives, it has become nearly impossible for offenders to be released with out giving at least the majority of their due time to society.
Because of the reform act of 1984 release practices in federal systems underwent a series of changes. There have been mandatory penalties established in federal sentencing most notably for drug offenses. In 1987, 26684 offenders entered the federal prison system. They were sentenced on average forty-two months but only served approximately twenty-three months. That is only fifty-eight percent of their sentence. The number of inmates