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Prison Term Recomendation

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Prison Term Policy Recommendation

The Arizona State Legislature is coming together to vote on a bill that will double the maximum prison time for armed robbery convictions. The reason for this paper is too help give different recommendations with reasons that may aid in helping the voters look at other resolutions that may be more beneficial. Even though this proposed bill is popular with many, voters need to look at all aspects. My supervisor raised the question; will this new prison term do any good? With this question in mind, I decided to take a closer look at what the new bill will entail and if we even need to “fix something that is not broke”. If we first look at where armed robbery has come from and where it is today, then maybe we can look at other approaches that may have more of an affective outcome.

According to the Uniform Crime Report armed robbery is defined as “An aggravated form of robbery in which the defendant is armed with a dangerous weapon, though it is not necessary to prove that he used the weapon to effectuate the robbery. The taking of property from person or presence of another by use of force or by threatening use of force while armed with a dangerous weapon.” Armed robbery is dated all the back to the twentieth century. It was first noted as a plea to the crown by Henry the second. Robbery was one of the earliest crimes by English law that was punishable by the state. It soon became a capital felony included England until about the 1830’s, when the list of capital crimes was reduced. Robbery was such a huge offense that the punishment was execution when someone was caught. However the last execution for the simplest robbery was in 1836 in England. Unlike modern times, proof was not based on reasonable doubt, but a thief had to be caught red-handed (Law.Jrank, 2007).

In the United States, robbery was from the colonial days and was also punishable by death. Capital punishment continued on till about the 1960’s, where ten states executed for robbery. Between the years 1930-1962, 24 people were executed for robbery. Current constitution prohibits the execution for an offender who is convicted of robbery alone. If someone is killed in the course of the robbery, then the offender can be sentenced to death on a felony murder charge, even if there is no intend to kill (Law.Jrank, 2007).

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over the past years of 1973-2005, robbery numbers have fluxed greatly, but the one thing I saw in the reports is that the numbers have decreased. In 1973 the rate was at 6.7%, in 1980 6.6, 1990 5.7 and in 2005 2.6%.

When attempting to make a recommendation to a bill that now, in 2007 wants to make a increase and maximize the prison term by double, its essential to look at where the rates where in the past and where there are today. As stated earlier one can see that even without the increase of prison terms, armed robbery has declined greatly. The government needs to look at the positive aspects of what makes the crime rates fall and expand from there. If the government jumps in and makes a change to something, that may not necessarily need fixing, it can actually have a negative effect as opposed to a positive one.

One recommendation that I would propose is to go out in the communities that have the higher crime rate and place more officials to secure the area. Over the past years this has been an idea that has been in place and looks as if it has been working. If offenders see that there are more officials that are securing the area, then they are more likely to become feared. Plus the government needs to look at all the other programs or crime prevention acts that have been placed to see what has been working and then reflected from there.

Another recommendation would be not to maximize the prison sentence, but maybe up it by a couple of years. It has come to me that there is always going to be crime no matter what we try to do. There is always someone out there that wants what they can not have. But why should we focus on something like armed robbery that has already decreased over the years, when there are many other crimes, like murder, that has increased, that should be worked on.

The last recommendation would be to take a look at the cost of not only placing the bill into act, but what it would cost to house the offender once convicted.

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