Chalana Mcfarland

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The corrections system in the United States is known for having the highest incarceration rate than any other country and some people believe our punishments are either too harsh or too lenient. In my opinion I believe it depends on the type of crime correlating with the punishment. Not necessarily all of our punishments for crimes are too lenient or too harsh, I would say it relies on the type of crime committed and even specifically the technicalities of the crime.

There will always be room for improvement for our sentencing and punishments for crimes, but our penal ode and our laws are written quite well, it’s all about how you depict the law and what a Judge decides on as far as the punishment goes. Of course there are many factors that go along with sentencing and punishment, but as a whole, with everything considered, punishment in America seems fair for the most part.

Three main crimes related to these punishments are white collar crimes, drug crimes along with more serious crimes that result in the death penalty.

Many people in America and some states look at white collar crimes as if they are not nearly as important as violent crimes. Although white collar crimes usually haven’t effected anyone physically, they still have the capability of damaging businesses along with people’s lives, whether it be financially or Just their life as a whole.

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White collar crime is a sticky subject because there are even cases that I believe were treated too leniently or some that I thought had a fair punishment correlating with the crime.

Chalana Mcfarland

One great example of a white collar crime that I believe had a lenient punishment is the case of Chalana McFarland. “McFarland was a real estate attorney who was accused of committing acts of fraud, identity theft, mortgage cams, money laundering and other equally devastating crimes. McFarland left lenders with $20 million in defaulted loans by using inflated property values and real estate flipping deals. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay $12 million in restitution for her crimes. ” (Amanda Haury, Sentences For White-Collar Criminals, Investopedia, 5/12/2012).

A crime like this one most likely leaves the families involved devastated financially and can tear a family apart. Events like these cannot be fixed simply, even with restitution. I personally would see to it that McFarland receive a heavier punishment for her actions. On the other hand, the case of Thomas Petters is one I feel was treated fairly well and the punishment went along with the crime. “Petters was a business mogul who was accused and convicted of money laundering and fraud in a Ponzi scheme that cost investors over $3. billion of their hard-earned money. Petters was sentenced to a 50-year prison term, although the prosecutors recommended a sentence of 335 years. ” (Amanda Haury, Sentences For White-Collar Criminals, Investopedia, 5/12/2012). If we Petters were to be rosecuted under the full extent of the law he wouldVe faced a life term in prison, which would have been a waste of our tax money along with putting one more person into our already overcrowded correction system. Our next charge related punishment deals vastly with drug charges and how they are being implemented.

Statistically incarcerating thousands of nonviolent drug offenders throughout the past few years has cost our states a massive amount of money that could be used elsewhere in the corrections system. (Margaret Dooley- Sammuli, Drug Penalties, California, Drug Policy Alliance, 12/16/2011). For crimes such as having any kind of illegal narcotic on your person, other than marijuana, it’s automatically a felony offense with the incarceration period of three months. If we dropped the offense from a felony to a misdemeanor, it would save the state a great sum of money and resources.

Going along with that instead of incarcerating perpetrators for a minor drug possession charge, we should implement other state programs such as probation. This frees up our correction system along with our judicial system as well. My argument is that the punishment for these minor drug harges are too extensive and harsh. With the proposal of dropping minor drug charges from a felony to a misdemeanor, this would resolve the problem with the punishment related to this crime.

The United States remains in the minority of nations in the world that still uses the death penalty for certain crimes. I along with many people in America today still believe that the death penalty is very important in that we use it as a tool in fghting violent pre-meditated murder. One big downside to the death penalty is the possibility that innocent men and women will be put to death. Also financial cost to tax payers of capital punishment is several times that of housing the perpetrator in prison.

The punishment relating to this crime is quite fair, although I believe there are many cases in that a person has committed murder but has not received the death penalty for their actions. Of the 22,000 homicides committed every year approximately 1 50 people are sentenced to death (Death Penalty Facts, California, Death Penalty Focus, 3/31/2009). The only real problem I still see relevant to the punishment regarding any crimes that lead to the death penalty, is that there are still nnocent people being put to death and obviously once this is done there is no reversing this action.

Generally speaking I would say the death penalty as a punishment is fair and that we are being too lenient in that people who should receive the death penalty are given a life sentence in prison as an alternative. Overall the three main crimes, white collar crimes, drug crimes along with more serious crimes that result in the death penalty all carry punishments that are supposed to correlate with the crime, with the intention of finding grounds between eing too harsh or too lenient.

As we’ve found white collar crimes usually have fair punishments but can be lenient at times Just because they aren’t violent crimes and although they aren’t violent crimes they can still have a devastating effect on people’s lives. Drug crimes are deemed to be too harsh as far as punishment goes. If you are charged with a minor drug possession charge, it should simply be a misdemeanor rather than a felony which would equate to harsher punishment and longer sentences. The death penalty is a punishment which isn’t implemented enough, but n the other hand if it is implemented it can have negative effects as in executing an innocent person.

Death penalty as a whole seems to be too lenient and doesn’t have the effect that it should with our communities. In the end the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and nas many punishments that are considered to many as, too lenient or too harsh, but none the less I feel punishment in America is fair regarding most crimes. I feel there will always be room for improvement and speculation for how our punishments are implemented, but as a ountry, punishment is implemented correctly and fairly overall.

Works Cited http://www. investopedia. com/financial-edge/0512/sentences-for-white-collar criminals-too-harsh-or-too-lenient. aspx (Amanda Haury, Sentences For White-Collar Criminals, Investopedia, 5/12/2012) http:// www. californiaprogressreport. com/site/drug-penalties-too-harsh anyone (Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, Drug Penalties, California, Drug Policy Alliance, 12/16/2011) http://www. deathpenalty. org/section. php? id=13 (Death Penalty Facts, California, Death Penalty Focus, 3/31/2009)

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Chalana Mcfarland
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