Twenty-five percent of the world’s prisoners are in U.S. jails
Your recent arrest is no doubt weighing heavily on you as you await your trial. You are probably concerned about the sentence you will receive if a jury convicts you because the crime of which you are accused carries heavy minimum penalties. Maybe you are also aware that, if the court gives you the chance, you could change your life for the better-a chance that incarceration won’t offer you.
There is a possibility that changes may be coming. A ground-breaking report by the New York University School of Law reveals some startling statistics and makes some equally surprising recommendations about the current state of the country’s prison systems.
Tough on crime isn’t working
If this is not your first offense, and you have already spent time behind bars, you probably know first-hand about the findings in this report. The two-year study focused on nearly 40 percent of the prison population who present no safety risk to the general public yet are serving long, often mandatory sentences.
It may be no surprise to you that lawmakers often build their careers around being tough on crime. As a result, the country’s judges typically have no choice but to hand down lengthy prison sentences for lower-level crimes. You may be facing such a sentence yourself.
Radical prison reform
If you believe you would benefit more from some form of treatment or another alternative to prison, this report agrees with you. In fact, the researchers urge a complete overhaul of the prison system, beginning by reducing mandatory sentences for those incarcerated for these six crimes:
- Aggravated assault
- Drug trafficking
- Non-violent weapons charges
The majority of those in prison are convicted of these six offenses. If police have charged you with one of these crimes, prison reform may provide an alternative to incarceration.
Reducing the prison population
In addition to lowering mandatory sentences for people like you accused of low-level crimes, the report actually suggests releasing almost 40 percent of the prison population. The authors of the study suggest taking into account the risk certain prisoners pose to public safety by considering a number of factors, including:
- The serious nature of the crime
- The impact the crime had on the victim
- The intent with which the crime was committed
- The risk of the prisoner repeating the crime
Not only would such measures reduce the prison population, but they would save billions of taxpayer dollars and provide more positive prospects for people like you who will not benefit from harsh punishments.
While you wait for prison reforms to take place, your best chances for remaining out of jail are to secure the help of a lawyer whose passion is to defend your rights. An attorney with over 40 years of experience understands what you are up against and the life-changing consequences you are facing. Your freedom will be that lawyer’s top priority.