Assignment 1: Juvenile Justice or Injustice
Not all offenses or offenders are the same. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach to criminal justice does not work. Violent offenders have different correctional and supervision needs compared to substance abuse offenders.
Female offenders can have different correctional requirements compared to male offenders. Similarly, young offenders and juveniles have different correctional and supervision needs compared to their adult counterparts.
Although it has not always been the case, our current criminal justice system has a separate juvenile justice system aimed at serving the juvenile offenders. One of the primary differences between the juvenile and adult justice systems is the lack of a punitive component in the former.
It may be argued that the noncriminal, nonpunitive approach that most juvenile justice systems employ are ineffective and need to be changed to address present needs of the criminal justice system.
For varying reasons, it has become more and more common to find juvenile offenders being processed in the adult judicial system.
• Is our current juvenile system functioning as it should? Should juvenile offenders be treated differently from adult offenders, and if so, are we correct in having an independent, separate, juvenile court system?
• When is it appropriate, if ever, to try a juvenile as an adult in a criminal case?
• Should the juvenile court system take on a more punitive role, as some critics have suggested? In what instances can the justice system take a punitive role?
• In what way are the roles of an adult offender probations officer different from those of a probations officer who operates in the juvenile justice system? How does the model of punishment (Justice Model or Social Services Model) applied in a case affect the role of the probations officer?
Assignment 2: The Presentence Investigation—
Purpose and Procedure
One of the topics reviewed in this module is the development and purpose of a PSI report in many criminal justice systems. Most long-form PSIs contain at least six main sections, which are as follows:
• Part A – A description of the offense
• Part B – The defendant’s criminal history (broken down into juvenile and adult)
• Part C – Offender characteristics—includes subsections of personal and family data; physical condition; mental and emotional health; substance abuse; educational, vocational, and special skills; employment; and financial condition
• Part D – Sentencing options
• Part E – Circumstances for departure
• Part F – Variance
This organizational structure highlights the critical components of a PSI. It also offers a good overview of the functions of a PSI.
Click here to read a sample PSI report.
On the basis of what you’ve learned in this module and using specific examples from the PSI (read the sample PSI), prepare a 4- to 5-page paper to address the following:
• How does a PSI help the court to determine an appropriate sentencing decision?
• How does a PSI impact possible probation and parole decisions?
• How does a PSI help the court determine the sentence length and make recommendations for institutional placement?
• How does a PSI help the criminal justice system make informed decisions regarding probation or parole supervision?
• How might a PSI help the criminal justice system with treatment recommendations?
• How does a PSI assist corrections personnel in:
o Offender classification
o Offender management
o Treatment options
o Release planning
• How does a PSI assist the defendant and defense counsel?
Be sure to support your position with specific examples and to include information from each of the six parts of the PSI.