Free Sentencing Reform and Correction Act Amendment Essay Sample

A New Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that Would Affect the Criminal Justice System


Prisoners should have proportional sentences that are not too harsh. Equally, judges should pardon the convicts who are found guilty of petty crimes such as nonviolent disorderly. Prosecutors and judges should reasonably eliminate length imprisonment, which does not align with the crime committed. Instead, offenders should be rehabilitated as a way of helping them to reform. The Sentencing Reform and Correction Act has contributed to the imprisonment of many people. Moreover, drug offenses are the leading cause of imprisonment, where most people are subjected to disproportional sentences. However, the proposed Amendment of Sentencing Reform and Correction Act would effectively eradicate disproportional sentences by cancelling mandatory minimum sentences and unfair bails in criminal justice systems. As a consequence, the Amendment will promote integrity, transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system.

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Curbing the Alarming Rise of Disproportional Sentences

A considerable number of disproportional sentences on American citizens have been reported until now. According to Barkow and Rachel, 50% of federal prisoners are convicted of drug offenses, while the rest are charged with other crimes such as murder, rape, and robbery among others. For instance, the Sentencing Reform and Correction Act provides that a person who is found guilty of drug activities twice can be incarcerated for up to 20 years. Nevertheless, most of these lengthy sentences are not appropriate that has significantly affected many families and the national economy at large. 

The rise in the rate of incarcerated people in the US is alarming. Equally, the number of prisoners has increased by 700% since 1980 compared to the population growth, which stands at 33 %. Similarly, the Bureau of Prisons claimed that the number of inmates has exceeded the capacity of prisons by 20%, where jails are overcrowded. Moreover, the criminal justice system, including prosecutors and judges, follows the set rules blindly to incarcerate wrongdoers. Nonetheless, the proposal on amending the Sentencing Reform and Correction Act would reduce the quantity of convicts who would be productive in the economic development. The Amendment should empower judges to make a final decision without the influence of prosecutors. Therefore, rather than serving a considerable amount of time in jail one may contribute more to the community development. 

Eliminating Mandatory Minimum Sentences That Are Unnecessary

The mandatory minimum sentences have shifted the power from judges to prosecutors. These sentences are unjust and have a severe negative impact on the defendants. As a proof, by 1983, the criminal justice system of 50 states had mandatory sentences for drug offenses and illegal gun possession. At this point, these sentences did not cover murder charges or disorderly drunk driving. In 1994, all states adopted mandatory sentences that applied to primary firearms, murder, drug trafficking and aggravated rape. The criminal justice system resorted to the Sentencing Reform and Correction Act, which has dramatically affected these unnecessary mandatory sentences. Hence, the criminal justice system is empowered to impose harsh penalties that are influenced by prosecutors. These mandatory sentences should not be applicable, and people should be given a chance to change instead of serving the mandatory jailing and disproportional sentences. Thus, the proposed Amendment would ensure that judges take full control and execute their constitutional mandates with fairness. Respectively, the focus of the Amendment is on the integrity in the criminal justice system as well as fair sentences for the offenders.

The Impact of Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Personal Biasness in the Criminal Justice System

Judges or juries have less authority on the sentencing matters when it comes to mandatory minimum sentences. The power was shifted to the prosecutor, who dictates the type of sentence that a perpetrator would receive. The biasness gives prosecutors the authority to initiate a mandatory minimum sentence to an offender based on the committed crime. Consequently, this negative impact would be solved by the proposed Amendment, which will allow judges to take full jurisdiction.

Unfair Targeting of Minority Groups

It is evident that one of the popular types of mandatory minimum sentences in the U.S. focuses on the drug-related crimes. The law has strict policies on controlling drug abuse and extremely harsh mandatory minimum sentences for the production and sale of these illegal substances. Barkow and Rachel claim that drugs consumed by the African American and Hispanic communities entail more harsh sentences in comparison to the white populations. Indeed, the mandatory minimum sentences are viewed as a modern form of segregation resulting in the rise of imprisonment among African Americans. The move has affected the black community in the U.S., as they are featured by a higher incarceration rate than their white counterparts. Therefore, to avoid this minority issue, the proposed Amendment on eradicating mandatory minimum sentences would help the criminal justice system (judges) impose fair penalties to all citizens in the U.S.

Creating a Coerced Environment

The criminal justice system (prosecutors, police and judges) threatens low-level criminals with high-level mandatory sentences. The motive is to get information on the trends of other perpetrators in the state. It is believed that these threats help law enforcers to trace the criminal chain of command in the streets. However, the accuracy of such information is questionable since offenders can say anything or lie to avoid mandatory minimum sentences. Hence, the Amendment to the Sentencing Reform and Correction Act would allow preventing a coercion environment. Consequently, eliminating coercion protocols is essential as an innocent person can be incarcerated just because another individual gave false testimony to the authorities.

Unjust Mandatory Minimum Sentences

These sentences influence the criminal justice system to impose an unjust jail sentence. In an article posted by Washington Post in 2000, a desperate mother of five children received a payment of 150$ to mail a package. After going through security checks, the experts realized that the package contained cocaine. The woman served ten-year term for the crime she did not commit. Even though judges felt that the sentence was irrational and unjust, they had to follow the law. In order to solve this problem, the proposed Amendment would effectively eradicate this cause of injustices in the criminal justice system. Accordingly, the Amendment would help judges evaluate the causes of crime and analyze possibilities based on the facts rather than blind sentences grounded on the law.

Positive Effect on the Reduction of Correctional Expenditures

The criminal justice system (correctional system) requires considerable funds to maintain many survival needs for the incarcerated people. These expenditures escalated from $ 4.57 billion in 1980 to $ 27.12 billion in 1994. During this time, the correctional system accounted for 90% of the expenditures spent on jail maintenance and basic needs for inmates. Meanwhile, the expenses for correctional and community-based programs dropped by 9%. Conversely, the number of convicts in jails have increased to 2.2 million in the year 2020. Skeem et al. argue that the U.S. allocated $300 billion to financing of court systems, community police and prisons. Therefore, to reduce this expenditure, the proposed Amendment to the Sentencing Reform and Correction Act would help reform and pardon offenders who committed minor crimes rather than incarcerating them.

The Amendment would focus on rehabilitating minor perpetrators. The criminals can be initiated into community-based programs that aim at driving the government and the public agenda in general. Judges should effectively work with prosecutors to have a proportional sentence. This move would allow the correctional systems to save funds used in these institutions since a large budget is required for disciplinary activities. Respectively, the action would assist in cutting costs assigned to correctional systems and providing fair sentences to the wrongdoers.

Essential Concepts of the New Amendment

Human Rights Concerns

An unfair sentence is associated with a deprivation of fundamental human rights and liberty. A person has the right to proportional correction, regardless of their ethnicity, race, or gender. The minorities should also be considered as other people, and their rights should be protected. However, the violation of human rights should bring an individual in prison. Hence, the Amendment under review would be concerned with eliminating barriers to effective and fair jurisdiction. The Amendment should also cover the increase in social reintegration on prisoners. Nonetheless, prosecutors should be considerate, and judges should be impartial.

Poverty and Imprisonment

The Amendment entails eliminating disproportional sentences that impacts many families of convicts, especially when the incarcerated member is the breadwinner. The proposed Amendment to the Sentencing Reform and Correction Act would ensure that judges and prosecutors are just in their constitutional mandates. The defendant should be given an adequate amount of time to organize his or her team and receive considerable court trials. Consequently, the reform would help to avoid unfair sentences that may leave families impoverished and broke.

Public Health Interests

The Amendment would also focus on health implications in prisons. An inmate is at risk of contracting various diseases such as tuberculosis, skin diseases, malaria, HIV infection, and diarrhea. These medical conditions are the causes of morbidity and mortality in jails. Wang et al. illustrate that approximately 500 convicts die annually due to health complications related to the prison environment. Therefore, the Amendment would require the correctional system (criminal justice system) to be vigilant towards the health status of incarcerated people. 

Detrimental Social Effect

Imprisonment has an enormous impact on social cohesion as well as disrupting relationships. The family ties are affected when a spouse or a relative is incarcerated. Hence, the Amendment would provide clear guidelines on how the spouses would be intimately seeing each other. The change should help strengthen family bonds even when someone is constrained in a jail. Accordingly, the idea is to save many families from breaking up after one spouse is confined for an extended term.

Affordable Bails

Many people are in prison since they cannot afford to pay the bail. Most of them are charged with disorderly conduct and probation violation. Equally, the bail amount may be even less than 1000$. According to Skeem et al., three out of ten Americans cannot raise 1000$ instantly. Hence, a person is forced to stay in jail until the trial date if they are unable to cover the required amount. In this regard, approximately 500, 000 people find themselves in prisons simply because they cannot pay the bail. An individual is subjected to pretrial detention, which may last for weeks, months, or years. Furthermore, the bail creates a gap between the rich and the poor. Some people are even forced to plead guilty for the crime, which they did not commit, as a way of getting away from the jail cell. It is an issue of concern since these individuals are left with criminal records, which in turn adversely influences their profession and future life at large. Nonetheless, the Amendment would advocate for the fair and affordable bail for every member of the society.


The proposed Amendment is intended to eliminate disproportional sentences, mandatory minimum sentences, and unfair bails. Similarly, the mandatory minimum sentences have affected many wrongdoers caught on the wrong side of the law. The criminal justice system is empowered to impose harsh penalties that are influenced by prosecutors. However, the Amendment aims at ensuring that judges execute their constitutional mandates with fairness. The criminal justice system (correctional system) spends substantial funds on the incarcerated individuals. Alternatively, the given Amendment to the Sentencing Reform and Correction Act would rehabilitate offenders, who committed minor crimes, such as nonviolent behaviors instead of incarcerating them. The move would help to save expenses spent on correctional facilities. Equally, many people are in prison because they cannot afford to pay the bail. Thus, approximately 500,000 individuals are stuck in jail since they cannot raise enough funds for their bail. In order to solve the problem, the provided Amendment would suggest a fair and affordable bail. As a result, the reasonable amount would not discriminate against the minorities or apply gender-based biasness.


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