All of America has read or heard conflicting opinions about the issue of “Punishment vs. Rehabilitation.”The far right and conservative lawmakers believe in strict punishment and long sentences for those who violate the law. We hear constantly their simplistic adage–“Don’t do the crime,if you can’t do the time.”
Instead of listening to the far right pundits and our tough on crime lawmakers, let us consider what crime victims actually think about “Punishment Vs. Rehabilitation.”
The Alliance for Justice and Safety conducted a poll with crime victims about this crucial issue and released its findings last week. The group polled more than 800 victims out of 3,000 who responded to their inquiry. For any doubting Thomas, the respondents qualified, if they had suffered a violent or property crime in the last ten years.
The majority, more than 2-1, felt that our criminal justice system emphasized too much punishment instead of rehabilitation. Unlike some of our hard line lawmakers, the actual majority of victims wanted shorter sentences because they felt today’s prisons with their focus on punishment increased crimes.
The general public has the same opinion. The Pew Charitable Trusts conducted a survey in 2012 regarding these issues. 84% of those polled, including majorities of Democrats and Republicans, wanted resources focused on rehabilitation instead of incarceration of nonviolent offenders.
The United States has 25% of the world’s inmates and the most prisons. It is time for all legislators, federal and state, to listen to the victims and the public.
Sponsored by the Fishman Firm: Brian Fishman has been practicing law in Philadelphia since 2002. His practice has been dedicated almost exclusively to criminal law, although he also handles personal injury and civil right matters. Brian has been admitted to practice in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and in federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. After graduating cum laude from Temple University Law School where he was an editor on the Temple Law Review, Brian went to work as an Assistant District Attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. There he tried hundreds of cases, including many jury trials. Brian litigated cases in Pennsylvania’s Municipal Court, Juvenile Court and the Court of Common Pleas. Brian, as a Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney, prosecuted a variety of serious criminal cases including rape, firearm offenses, attempted murder, burglary, robbery, DUIs and narcotics offenses. Brian can be contacted at his firm’s web site: http://www.thefishmanfirm.com/
By: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of prisonpath.com