Crime and corrections policy in texas - HCC Learning Web

Crime and corrections policy in texas - HCC Learning Web

THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM Chapter Twelve CATEGORIZING CRIME IN TEXAS Felony Serious crime punishable by prison and/or fine Capital felony is punishable by death or life sentence Capital felony, 1st Deg., 2nd Deg., 3rd Deg., and SJF Misdemeanor Minor crime punishable by small fine or short jail sentence A, B or C Punishing Crime Probation

Parole Three Strikes Rule CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY Drug Crimes Since the 1980s, arrests for drug possession have ballooned in Texas. Many people who are prosecuted for low-level drug crimes are dealing with a range of other issues, including mental illness, homelessness, and poverty. Many defendants spend weeks or months in county jail awaiting punishment for minor offenses, including possession of small amounts of drugs. Hate Crimes Since 1993, Texas law has provided enhanced punishment for criminal acts against another person motivated by bias or prejudice against a group of which the victim was a member, also called hate crimes.

Enhanced Punishment Plea Bargain THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS Arraignment and Posting Bail First thing that happens after an arrest, charges are explained to the accused, bail and first court date is set. Bail promises appearance in court If you dont have money for a bond, ask for a PR bond! Grand Jury Indictment Jury of 12 that determines if there is sufficient evidence to hold a trial. They do not rule on guilt or innocence, they just look at the facts to find PC

No bill vs true bill Lead by the prosecutor only! THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS CONTD Pretrial Hearings Accused formally pleads guilty or innocent, dates are set Any pretrial motions are submitted to the court Maybe a plea bargain Trial and Sentencing Jury vs Judge in trial and sentencing Does the Criminal Justice System Create Criminals? (page 429-430) What do you think?

CRIME AND TEXAS DISTRICT ATTORNEYS County attorney prosecutes minor crimes, unlike the district attorney, who prosecutes more serious criminal cases. Prosecutors must maintain high conviction rates in order to keep their positions. Plea Bargain: negotiated agreement in a criminal case in which a defendant agrees to plead guilty in return for the states agreement to reduce the severity of the criminal charge or prison sentence the defendant is facing. Prosecutors in Texas have A LOT of powers. Judge is NEVER involved in the case until it goes to trial (barely even then!). Crime and Criminal Defense Court appointed attorney and public defenders are appointed for indigent persons.

CRIME, CORRECTIONS, AND THE TEXAS PRISON SYSTEM As of 2012, there were 152,303 people incarcerated in the states prisons, state jails, and substance abuse facilities. In 2012, the average cost per day for each bed in the states correctional facilities was $50.04. History of the Prison System Ruiz v. Estelle: helped make prisoners rights a public policy issue. Complained against overcrowding, improper care and supervision of the inmates. The Prison System Today Operated by the TDCJ In 2011, the total operating budget for the TDCJ was $3.06 billion. Prison alternatives like drug treatment programs and halfway homes didnt start until

2007. PROBLEMS WITH THE PRISON SYSTEM It is difficult for felons to gain legitimate employment after their release so much so that the federal government offers huge tax credit to employers willing to hire felons. Average prison sentence in Texas in 19.3 years. It is hard for folks who have been in their for so long to re-adjust into society. No family 44.3% of inmates in Texas prisons do not have a high school diploma or GED and their average educational achievement is slightly less than 8 years. 15% of folks who received probation, violate their terms.

THE DEATH PENALTY Political scientists found that judges tend to affirm death penalty sentences in states where judges are elected and where there is strong public support for the death penalty. Why is this a big deal? One 2012 poll showed that 73% of TX voters either somewhat or strong supported the death penalty. Not all offenders on death row are treated the same way. There is a racial and ethnic disparity. Two questionable aspects of the death penalty Crime by association Simultaneous trials

If we see a decline in DP in TX today its because theres a drop in murders and TX started life without parole in 2005. THE INTEGRITY OF THE TEXAS CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM Nonexistent (my opinion, not in the book!) Is aggressive use of the death penalty, wrongful convictions, and flawed evidence procedures are compromising the integrity of the criminal justice system in TX? How Fair is the Criminal Justice System? The Death Penalty and Wrongful Convictions Problems with Police Procedures and Evidence The Willingham Case

The Tulia Drug Arrests PROBLEMS AND REFORMS Overcrowding and Mental Illness in Prison Racial Bias Misconduct by District Attorneys Technology The Prison Show Social Media to connect with outside world Letters from Death Row Drug treatment programs More emphasis on community service probation, prison as last resort

PD are modifying their procedures for obtaining eyewitness evidence. Blind procedure: police officer administering photo line up does not know who the suspect is. Sequentially, rather than in a group Michael Morton Act

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