High rates of incarceration in the United States every year contributes to the policies that government and organizations make. At various times, other factors have contributed as well. These include rising crime rates; decisions by police officials to emphasize street-level arrests of drug dealers in the “war on drugs”. Also, changes in prevailing attitudes toward crime and criminals led prosecutors, judges, and parole, and other correctional officials to deal more harshly with individuals convicted of crimes.

The increase in U.S. incarceration rates over the past 40 years is eventually the result of growth in both imprisonment and prison sentences. These changes, in turn, are a product of the proliferation in nearly every state and the federal system of laws and guidelines. There have been several policies provided for lengthy prison sentences and repeat offenses.

Changes in U.S. Sentencing Laws

American sentencing policies, practices, and patterns have changed dramatically during the past 40 years. The incarceration rate has no doubt been decreasing. The federal system and an “indeterminate sentencing” system rely on ideas about the need to individualize sentences and rehabilitation as the primary aim of punishment.

Let’s discuss some of the main changes in U.S. Sentencing Laws:

Changes Aimed at Increased Consistency and Fairness

  • Parole guidelines
  • Voluntary Sentencing Guidelines
  • Determinate Sentencing Laws
  • Presumptive Sentencing Guidelines
  • Changes Aimed at Increased Certainty and Severity

Sentencing laws endorsed the initiatives that were aimed principally at making sentences more predictable and consistent. How would these changes in laws differ?

Well, it makes processes fairer and more transparent. The initiatives in the second phase of change in modern sentencing law typically targeted making sentences harsher and more certain. It helped to prevent crime through anticipation and incapacitation.

  • Truth-in-Sentencing Laws
  • Mandatory Minimum Sentence and Three Strikes Laws
  • Principles of Justice
  • Evidence and Policy
  • Racial Disparities
  • The difference in imprisonment rates relative to population
  • Inequality in imprisonment rates relative to offending
  • Disparities in sentencing and case processing

The Vast Expansion of the Criminal Justice System

Since 1977, the number of adults in prison in the United States has immensely increased. When the incarcerated youth are added in, and the people serving time in jail, the total climbs to s huge number.

The United States puts more than hundreds of people in prison every year. Every year millions of people are on probation or parole.

The “War on Drugs” continues to contribute significantly to the scale of arrests today. It is still a serious crime where the response to the public health challenges of drug addiction and crimes are associated with the arrest, conviction, and imprisonment of individuals for drug offenses.

The Impact of Criminal Records on the Labor Market

The overall impact of criminal records on the labor market is no more a surprise. While the labor market is picking up for many U.S. workers, large segments of the workforce are still falling behind.  The official unemployment rate for those actively looking for work in the labor market is higher in the case of people with a criminal background.

What is the extent to which the proliferation of criminal record checks contributes to reaching full employment? Well, these strategies and policies are designed to solve these queries.    

Well, designing policies to improve the economic outcomes of felons could have many benefits. Several federal programs and policies as the “Ban-the-Box” policy, mainly delay the point in the recruitment process.

Most of these are based on the facts that criminal background information is made available to employers; the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC); certificates of rehabilitation. They eventually restore some rights to people with felony convictions, and programs supported by the Department of Labor Reintegration of Ex-Offenders grant permission to hire them.

The Bottom Lines

How time has evolved now? How these programs & policies have changed the hiring process? Organizations now seek to incentivize the hiring of ex-offenders, although they have their own guidelines.

To update efforts aimed at improving employment rates and earnings potential for ex-offenders, such policies play a great role. RAND researchers conducted experiments to examine employer preferences of policy options designed to give felony employment to individuals with criminal records.

Studies show that felony-friendly companies have started hiring people with criminal records. Even such programs motivate them to build a long-term career. More employers are removing barriers that keep felons up to get jobs in the US. In this way, former felons with jobs have helped to form families, a safer neighborhood, and healthy societies. 

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