Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word paper that summarizes the arguments for and against confining sick and older adult prisoners in jail.Resource Below: O’Meara, J. G. (2010) article in this week’s Electronic Reserve Readings
Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word paper that summarizes the arguments for and against confining sick and older adult prisoners in jail.
Which of these arguments do they think have merit?What values underlie each position?How does medical parole or release fit into this discussion?Provide alternative solutions to the problem and discuss their overall impacts.Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines. Intext citations
Compassion and the Public Interest: Wisconsin’s New Compassionate Release Legislation Gregory J. O’Meara* Associate Professor, Marquette University Law School Current sentencing and parole policies can be characterized by what John Pratt terms penal populism. 1 This approach to criminal justice includes widespread increase in police surveillance and arrests,2 elimination of rehabilitation as a correctional goal,3 and an unprecedented expansion of the prison population.4 Although crime rates have been declining appreciably for some time (a decline that preceded the explosion in prison populations),5 it has become politically expedient to ignore policy suggestions based on statistical analysis and focus rather on the uninformed beliefs of the populace.6 Because the prison system is backed by a bureaucracy of its own, it continues to grow according to an internal rationality that favors constant expansion according to a decidedly retributive ethos.7 Because so much of prison life occurs far from the public’s view, changes in policy and implications of longheld truisms are rarely noticed by those who are not directly affected by the penal system. Just as Victor Hugo’s fictional Jean Valjean could be largely forgotten in the bowels of prison, women and men sentenced to correctional facilities largely fall from consciousness unless or until benign neglect is disturbed by other factors. Today, that benign neglect in Wisconsin has been disturbed by the financial constraints of maintaining the current prison population. Between 2000 and 2007, Wisconsin’s prison population increased by 14 percent.8 The State Corrections budget increased by 71 percent from 1999 to 2009.9 Wisconsin’s health care costs for adult prisoners leapt from $28.5 million in 1998 to $87.6 million in 2005.10 The Wisconsin Department of Corrections estimates that it will cost $2.5 billion between 2009 and 2019 to reduce overcrowding and accommodate the expansion of the prison system.11 As a result of looming costs, Wisconsin, like other states, has begun to reconsider implications of previously popular law-and-order policies. One product of Wisconsin’s reconsideration is a recent change in compassionate release standards for inmates in state correctional facilities.22 This legislation both expands the category of those eligible for sentence modification and streamlines the procedure.13 Although the law has much to recommend it, issues unaddressed may prove costly—notably the unintended consequences of placing financial burdens on the families or communities to which these prisoners are released in a bleak economic climate. The idea of compassionate release of elderly and ill inmates is not new.14 In 1994, Professor Marjorie Russell published a consideration of the compassionate release and medical parole programs of the fifty states and the District of Columbia.15 Only three jurisdictions, the District of Columbia, Kansas, and Maine, had no programs for the parole or release of terminally ill prisoners.16 Russell noted that [t]wenty-two states reported that they have no compassionate release program, but each has at least one method by which a terminally ill prisoner can seek release. These methods included: commutation of sentence through the administrative procedures of the DOC with no specific provision relating to the terminally ill; general claim for executive clemency; and normal parole application procedures, where the prisoner’s medical condition is only one factor to be considered in the ordinary parole decision.17 Thus, almost twenty years ago, states recognized a need for this safety valve even without providing a specific statutory grounding for it.
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