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Time for Additional Criminal Justice Reform


There is no question that our criminal justice system is based on the concept of retributive justice, with the goal being to punish people and seek vengeance under the theory that this will help them act correctly in the future. In other words, it is based on the system harming that individual if they harm someone else.

The problem with this approach is that it very clearly produces more harm. It is well documented that individuals come out of prison, bitter, not better. Their families suffer and a majority of prisoners are arrested again within three years of being released from prison, indicating that the system is accelerating additional, destructive activities.

Not Just For The Accused, But For Crime Victims

Arguably, the system also isn’t good for the actual crime victims. Victims and their loved ones are barely involved at all in the process of delivering justice, which ends up neglecting their needs and silences their voices. In fact, the investigators, jurors, judges, lawyers, and police are the ones who do what they think is right, and crime victims and their families rarely even get to ask questions or help determine the punishment; or obtain an apology. This also applies to receiving an apology from those convicted of the crime against them, which, some could argue, also robs the victims of certain opportunities they may seek, such as finding out what the reasons were for the crime. In fact, any communication between the parties is essentially nonexistent.

The First Step Act Was Just The Beginning

There is no question that this is a current system is not working and we need to think more about restorative justice, where the goal is not creating more damage, but healing and amelioration; where all parties are restored some degree of wholeness were possible.

The good news is that baby steps towards these changes have at least begun; as when Congress passed the First Step Act, which provides rehabilitation opportunities and scales back some of the harshest criminal penalties for drug offenses, as well as allowing for some to petition the judge for their freedom and ban solitary confinement for juveniles; amongst a number of other reforms. Still, we need additional steps to be taken in an effort to continue to roll back other lengthy prison sentences and invest in alternatives to incarceration; reducing barriers to reintegration for those with criminal records.

Contact Our Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys

Criminal sentences are still far too lengthy for those considered to be “violent” and “high-risk” criminals, especially those deemed to be “removable” under the Immigration and Nationality Act. If you have been accused of a crime, contact our experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys at the Baez Law Firm today to find out how we can provide you with the very best in legal representation.

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