Respond to lisa | Criminal homework help

Sep 15, 2023

Due to the failure to enact The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S.2123) and Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3713), the United States corrections system has failed to see substantial sentencing reform since 1984. This means that for the past 39 years we have sentenced convicted individuals by un-evolving standards. This has become increasingly problematic as we have reformed other areas of the criminal justice system in this time. This is seen especially with the increase of mental health awareness and diversionary programs for prisoners. A prime example of reform we have been able to achieve is The FIRST STEP Act signed into law in 2018. “Its goal is very straightforward: to give deserving prisoners the opportunity to get a shortened sentence for positive behavior and job training and giving judges and juries the power that the Constitution intended to grant them in sentencing.” (RED, 2019) I briefly mentioned in my initial post for last week’s discussion that: “I have always argued that reform at the sentencing level is not where reform should begin and, in most cases, it may be the point of no return.” (Lataille, 2023) Reform at the incarceration level is an even further point of no return.  

At the end of the day, the United States desperately years for reform. Like other areas of our government, its outdatedness continues to show itself and puts those in the system at an unnecessary disadvantage. While I do agree that criminals should face punishment, I also believe that this punishment should remain fair and appropriate. The war on drugs is a prime example of America’s history with over-punishing. “From the administration of US president Ronald Reagan onward, the War on Drugs faced a great deal of criticism for, among other actions, its harsh sentencing of offenders who were “holding,” that is, arrested and imprisoned for possession of small amounts of drugs.” (Willis, S. M. . M. M, 2022) 

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If legislatures continue their failure to enact new sentencing laws, the already climbing incarceration rates will only continue their ascent. Judicial discretion has its place in sentencing reform, especially regarding holding judges accountable for the sentences they invoke. “Sentencing guidelines can be applied in a way that makes judges accountable for individual sentence length decisions. They can make disparity and discrimination more clearly defined and more easily monitored.” (Frederick et al., 1984) 


Federal sentencing reform. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2023, from 

Frederick, B. C., Guider, E. T., & Manti, V. D. (1984). Effects of limiting discretion in sentencing. 

GrantsEdge. (2017, April 21). The 4 fundamental features of a strong needs statement. GrantsEdge. 

RED. (2019, February 28). The FIRST STEP act: What & why. RED – Stop Recidivism. 

Willis, M., S., MS, & MA. (2022). War on Drugs. Salem Press. 

In response to your peers, consider how well they justified their positions, making use of available resources. Consider the following questions in your responses to posts:

  • Did they support their position convincingly with appropriate resources?
  • Which of their points make the most sense to you, even if you made a case for the opposing viewpoint?

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