Changes to Parole Policies
Several states have made changes to their parole policies in the last few decades. What changes did Florida make to their parole policies? In your opinion, why did Florida make these changes? Do you agree or disagree with the changes? You may use research outside of the textbook to answer these questions.
Changes to Parole Policies
Florida is among the states in the U.S. that made changes to their parole policies. The criminal justice system enacted parole policies enabling the inmate’s release before the expiry of their jail term (Seeds 1). However, many Florida prisoners got sentenced as capital offenders that attract life sentencing with only eligibility for parole after 25 years. The long waiting for parole led to overpopulation in the prisons, with bed capacities getting overwhelmed (Al Weswasi 172). Although Florida faced various management challenges, it made changes to parole policies. The significant change imposed by Florida was the abolition of parole for offenders.
Florida formed a commission tasked with developing and implementing rules for parole decisions. The commission recommended the abolition of parole for offenders incarcerated on or after October 1, 1983 (Seeds 172). Only inmates whose crimes were committed before the abolition date are eligible for parole consideration. In my view, Florida made changes in parole policies to help in the federal government’s effort to reduce crime rates. The availability of parole to offenders led to an increase in severe crimes since offenders knew they would get pardoned before the end of their jail term.
Parole policy changes in Florida became the cause of overcrowding in the prisons. The parole decision was not considerate of the fact prisons will be overwhelmed by the increase in new offenders and current ones. Florida Department of Corrections reported that many facilities face overpopulation due to insufficient bed space (Al Weswasi 1-3). The prisons also face understaffing, which makes managing a large population of inmates challenging. As a result, lawmakers propose parole for eligible offenders to ease the backlog in Florida prisons (Seeds 172-200). Generally, parole plays a significant role in helping prisons reduce overpopulation and solve understaffing challenges. Therefore, the decision to abolish parole policies in Florida was not appropriate considering the state of their prisons. Therefore, it would be better if Florida reinstates the parole policies for effective management of their prisons and also to ensure quality correctional services to the inmates.
In addition, parole policies allow offenders to serve their sentences outside the confine of the prison system. Many prisoners released on parole are likely to reform as they get exposed to corrective measures to change their perceptions about crime (Al Weswasi 3-5). Abolition of parole implies that many prisons may spend all their lives confined in the prisons without reforming. There is a possibility of prisoners getting used to prison life to the extent that they will not see the need for reforming and denouncing their criminal lives (Seeds 172). Therefore, the changes to abolish parole were not appropriate as far as the transformation of prisoners is concerned.
Nevertheless, Florida’s abolition of parole policies is a good move in the fight against crime in the U.S. Many offenders take advantage of parole policies to continue with their crimes, hoping that their sentence will get shortened (Seeds 173). High degree criminal offenders will be afraid of spending their lives in prison due to lack of parole. The Department of Corrections is likely to record a decrease in inmates when parole is abolished. Generally, the abolition of parole by Florida works for the good of the criminal justice system. It will be a strategy to reduce crime rates and promote appropriate behavior (Al Weswasi, 1-28). Capital offenders will be exposed to harsh correctional rules that will be difficult to re-offend when their sentence ends. Therefore, the decision to abolish parole policies was appropriate for enhancing the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in Florida.
Al Weswasi, Enes, et al. “Does sentence length affect the risk for criminal recidivism? A quasi-experimental study of three policy reforms in Sweden.” Journal of Experimental Criminology (2022): 1-29.
Seeds, Christopher. “Disaggregating LWOP: Life without parole, capital punishment, and mass incarceration in Florida, 1972–1995.” Law & Society Review 52.1 (2018): 172-205.
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