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Sentence lengths might not predict recidivism rates

| Jun 4, 2015 | Drug Charges

Last week, we discussed how minimum mandatory sentences for some drug charges might be changing if a bill becomes a new law. Some of our readers might find that troubling, but we want our readers to know that longer sentences might not reduce recidivism.

If you think about the crime rates now, you might notice that recidivism rates are high despite the lengthy sentences some defendants receive. On the other side of the coin is the fact that most crimes are attributed to people who are under 35 years old. This is the argument that some people use to say that longer prison sentences are the key to reducing crime, especially if the person is kept in prison until he or she is 35.

It is important to note that there are four goals of the criminal justice system — to deter the person from re-offending, to give the victim revenge, to stop people from committing crimes and to rehabilitate a person who is convicted of a crime.

When you consider the last of those four, you might think that a person can’t rehabilitate in prison. The fact of the matter, however, is that a person who is in a treatment program in prison could possibly stay in the treatment plan longer if his or her sentence is increased. That is a good point if the prison offers rehabilitation programs, but many don’t.

We know that the last thing any defendant wants to do is face a lengthy sentence. With the goal of rehabilitation in mind, we work with our clients to try to get a positive outcome possible for a case.