- Politics and Social Issues
Minnesota's Sentencing Guidelines Revised
Minnesota's Sentencing Guidelines Revised, is a report made to conjure up different situations, and decisions. Since English common law was introduced in the early thirteenth century sentencing of convicted criminals has changed a lot. Although many different practices were put to play, the basic principle of atoning for wrong doings has been fundamental in deciding sentencing guidelines. Guidelines protect individuals from receiving cruel and unusual punishment through sentencing by following procedures set forth in the United States Constitution. Despite the fact, many crimes receive adequate treatment through the use of imprisonment, cash fines, probation, and even community service. Throughout this report the reader has the choice to determine their own thoughts of what crimes should be given more, or less time based on the information provided.
With Minnesota's expected rise in the professionalism of its officers, one would determine that the Sentencing Guidelines Commission would follow the same path. This has turned out to be true in some ways, yet false in others. Such as the sentencing guidelines set for convicted rapists, which call for a minimum of up to two years in prison. Some Minnesotan residents (including myself) believe that the charge is to lenient, and could encourage them to commit that same crime again. Here is a direct quote from Nancy Biele director of the sexual violence center of Hennepin and Carver counties, and the president of the National Coalition against Sexual Assault. "It's not enough time," "It's not enough for the crime. For every sexual assault there is a threat of death.... The community didn't look at this seriously and started looking at more severe [crimes] sentencing until someone got murdered" (Biele, 1988,01A).
Granted a rapist should go to jail for a much longer time than what is actually being implemented. Eventually there will be a despicable case whereas the prosecuting attorney will have to impose a harsher penalty, which might bring about public approval. Certainly no well-to-do citizen wants a rapist walking around their neighborhood, and parks. This is why Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines need to be revised, and enforced due to the nature of the crime.
With so much technology nowadays there should be a way to monitor these criminals; while having the monitoring system able to incapacitate the individual if he/she come too close to high risk areas such as a school, or park. I also believe that billboards should be posted with their picture in the area they live. R.F.I.D. chips should be implanted into these criminals. I think this should be implemented for every sex offender, for at least ten years after they are released on parole. This should be implemented because some criminals get out of the system the "easy" way. After all treatment, imprisonment, and parole don't work for every individual.
In addition to what was mentioned above unknown numbers of rapists are convicted of lesser crimes than those for which they were originally charged. Specifically under certain conditions, judges can depart from the guidelines, either increasing or decreasing sentences. Minnesota's sentencing guidelines were created, and effective in 1980. Still, others assume that the penalties are stiffer now than they were before the birth of sentencing guidelines in Minnesota. Regardless there are some laws that should receive harsher penalties than others. For instance stealing gas from a store is a minuscule crime compared to burglary.
There is no connection with these crimes, but they have almost the identical sentencing. Also most of the time the convicted get some county jail time, and are ordered into treatment programs. Some are ordered to pay restitution, and are given probation with no conditions. Nevertheless in Hennepin county, Minnesota district judges were distraught to find that "They count three prior car thefts the same as three prior rapes," (Lebedoff,1988,01A) Hennepin county district judge Jonathan Lebedoff complained.
Certainly three car thefts are in no way similar to even one rape. These crimes should in fact receive much different consequences in the form of sentencing. Indeed this is an example of why some sentencing guidelines need to be revised. In the past guidelines weren't as strict , but now in 2008 guidelines have been revised immensely. From the petty misdemeanors all the way to federal felonies the law has bulked up its resources to combat crime. Sentencing guidelines have been embodied with basic principles which keep guidelines somewhat rational. There are four principle guidelines according to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission. They are as follows:
1. Sentencing should be neutral with respect to the race, gender, social, or economic status of convicted felons.
2. While commitment to the Commissioner of Corrections is the most severe sanction that can follow conviction of a felony, it is not the only significant sanction available to the sentencing judge. Development of a rational and consistent sentencing policy requires that the severity of sanctions increase in direct proportion to increases in the severity of criminal offenses and the severity of criminal histories of convicted felons.
3. Because the capacities of state and local correctional facilities are finite, use of incarceration sanctions should be limited to those convicted of more serious offenses or those who have longer criminal histories. To ensure such usage of finite resources, sanctions used in sentencing convicted felons should be the least restrictive necessary to achieve the purposes of the sentence.
4. While the sentencing guidelines are advisory to the sentencing judge, departures from the presumptive sentences established in the guidelines should be made only when substantial and compelling circumstances exist.
As has been said, there are certain sentences for crimes that should be changed. Indeed many guidelines have been updated to address concerns with sentencing criminals to the highest extent of the law. On the other hand most non-violent crimes should receive less of a sentencing depending on its severity level. Violent crimes that hurt individuals physically or crimes that impose terrorism should be given higher sentencing. Throughout time sentencing guidelines will be sought after for providing fair and balanced atonement for crimes. Though sentencing guidelines may change over time one rule will remain and that is, it is up to the people of this great country to determine how the convicted will be charged.
Dalglish, Lucy (1989, January 20). Guidelines Ruling Effect is Limited in Minnesota. St. Paul Pioneer Press, p. C13, Retrieved November 5, 2008, from Link No Longer Valid
Draper, Norman & Byrne, Carol (1988, July 10) State too easy on rapists critics say - Average is 3.6 years; many never go to prison. Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved November 5, 2008, from Link No Longer Valid
Sentencing Guidelines and Commentary (Revised August 1, 2008) Retrieved November 5, 2008, from http://www.msgc.state.mn.us/msgc5/guidelines.htm