Death Penalty

        Death row inmates often sit on death row for more than 20 years awaiting their execution. This comes at a cost to taxpayers and delays justice. To end these excessive wait times, I am in favor of reforming capital punishment trials so that people like Dylan Roof, Patrick Crusius, Robert Long, Ahmad Alissa, and others who clearly committed their heinous crime(s) spend no more than 2 years on death row.

       To accomplish this, I am in favor of three changes to capital punishment trials. The first is to change the standard of proof from ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ to ‘no doubt’. The second is to have capital punishment trials consist of a presiding judge, a jury, and three additional judges. The third is to mandate a death sentence only if there is a unanimous verdict from the jury, an approval of the verdict from the presiding judge, and a unanimous approval from the three additional judges. In bumping up the standard of proof and needing a death sentence to be approved by the jury, presiding judge, and three additional judges, there can be a case made that, at the very least, the first two appeals a death row inmate receives (direct review and state collateral review) should be waived. To allow appeal after appeal for a crime that was clearly committed makes no sense to me.

 

Solitary Confinement

       There are four other criminal justice reforms I am in favor of that tie in with each other. The first reform is to prevent inmates who serve a sentence of 6 months or less from interacting with one another. The only way to accomplish this is by having them serve their sentence in confinement. The problem I have with letting inmates interact with one another is that it instills a prison mentality within them which only increases their chances of heading back to prison. I would, however, be in favor of allowing these inmates an unlimited number of visits from family and those who are likely to have a positive influence on them, such as members of a church, community leaders, some close friends, etc.

 

Reduced Sentencing

       The second reform I am in favor of is to reduce the length of prison sentences for most nonviolent crimes. In my opinion, the fear of being locked up deters most people from committing crimes whereas the length of a prison sentence seems to matter much less. I am not in favor of retribution type punishments where someone goes to prison for 10+ years for committing a single minor crime. The amount of time spent in prison should serve the purpose of being a fair punishment without being excessive.

 

A Nine-Point Crime System

       The third reform I am in favor of is the creation of a nine-point crime system that incorporates the previous two. Through parole and non-life sentences, our current criminal justice system allows murderers, rapists, and other dangerous criminals a chance to integrate back into society. Our system also allows career criminals to be given chance after chance without any ultimate consequence. A nine-point crime system would send those who accumulate nine points away for life, whether it be from one crime or multiple crimes. I believe that any person who accumulates nine points will have shown to be either a danger or a detriment to society. There should be a limit to the amount of destruction a person can cause before they face the ultimate consequence of life in prison. A nine-point crime system would resemble the following:

Crime          

Aggravated Assault/Battery       

Aiding & Abetting/Accessory     

Arson         

Assault/Battery      

Attempt       

Bribery          

Burglary       

Child Abandonment  

Child Abuse         

Child Pornography     

Computer Crime     

Conspiracy        

Credit/Debit Card Fraud      

Criminal Contempt in Court       

Cyber Bullying      

Disorderly Conduct       

Disturbing the Peace    

Domestic Violence       

Drug Distribution/Trafficking     

Drug Manufacturing and Cultivation 

Points    

2.0 – 6.0    

1.0 – 9.0    

2.0 – 9.0   

1.0 – 4.0  

1.0 – 9.0    

civil penalty – 4.0  

1.0 – 4.0   

civil penalty – 4.0  

2.0 – 9.0  

3.0 – 9.0   

1.0 – 6.0  

1.0 – 9.0 

1.0 – 6.0  

civil penalty – 1.0  

civil penalty – 3.0 

civil penalty – 1.0 

civil penalty – 1.0  

2.0 – 6.0   

2.0 – 6.0    

2.0 – 9.0  

Time in Prison

2 months – 2 years

1 month – life

2 months – life

1 month – 9 months

1 month – life

up to 6 months

1 month – 9 months

up to 9 months

2 months – life

6 months – life

1 month – 2 years

1 month – life

1 month – 2 years

up to 1 month

up to 6 months

up to 1 month

up to 1 month

2 months – 2 years

2 months – 2 years

2 months - life

Drug Possession – Drug possession and drug use by itself should not be a crime. However, for more conservative states, I would be in favor of tacking on up to 2 additional points for anyone who commits a crime while under the influence of certain drugs.

DUI/DWI 

Embezzlement  

Extortion   

Forgery   

Fraud  

Harassment   

Hate Crimes   

Indecent Exposure  

Identity Theft   

Insurance Fraud  

Kidnapping   

Manslaughter: Involuntary  

Manslaughter: Voluntary  

Money Laundering 

Murder: First Degree 

Murder: Second Degree  

Open Container Law  

Perjury  

Prostitution  

Public Intoxication   

Pyramid Schemes  

Racketeering/RICO   

Rape   

Robbery  

Securities Fraud   

Sexual Assault  

Shoplifting   

Stalking   

Statutory Rape   

Tax Evasion/Fraud  

Telemarketing Fraud  

Theft  

Vandalism  

Wire Fraud  

civil penalty – 2.0   

2.0 – 6.0  

2.0 – 6.0  

civil penalty – 3.0  

2.0 – 6.0 

civil penalty – 3.0  

2.0 – 6.0   

civil penalty – 2.0  

2.0 – 6.0   

2.0 – 6.0  

2.0 – 9.0   

3.0 – 9.0  

6.0 – 9.0   

2.0 – 6.0  

9.0  

6.0 – 9.0 

civil penalty – 0.5  

civil penalty – 2.0  

civil penalty at most

civil penalty – 1.0  

2.0 – 6.0    

2.0 – 6.0    

3.0 – 9.0   

3.0 – 6.0  

2.0 – 6.0    

2.0 – 6.0   

civil penalty – 3.0  

1.0 – 5.0   

2.0 – 6.0  

2.0 – 6.0   

2.0 – 6.0   

2.0 – 6.0    

civil penalty – 2.0  

2.0 – 6.0      

up to 2 months

2 months – 2 years

2 months – 2 years

up to 6 months

2 months – 2 years

up to 6 months

2 months – 2 years

up to 2 months

2 months – 2 years

2 months – 2 years

2 months – life

6 months – life

4 years – life

2 months – 2 years

life

4 years – life

up to 1 month

up to 2 months

NA

up to 1 month

2 months – 2 years

2 months – 2 years

6 months – life

6 months – 2 years

2 months – 2 years

2 months – 2 years

up to 6 months

1 month – 1 year

2 months – 2 years

2 months – 2 years

2 months – 2 years

2 months – 2 years

up to 2 months

2 months – 2 years

(for mobile)

Three-Tiered Life Without Parole Prison System

        The fourth reform I am in favor of is the creation of a three-tiered (perhaps four-tiered) life without the possibility of parole prison system. A tiered life-in-prison system would improve the living conditions for many serving a life sentence while ensuring dangerous and/or career criminals are never allowed back into society. In order for this system to work it would be necessary for the first tier to be quite liberal. The more it resembles everyday life, the more humane the system is, and the more likely this system would remain in place. First tier prisons should be seen as a privilege for a small percentage of inmates serving a life sentence while the majority of inmates would serve in a higher tier. While first tier prisons would be quite liberal, higher tiers would be more restrictive. The tier an inmate starts out in would depend upon the severity of their crime(s). A murderer or rapist would most likely start serving in a third-tier prison, while someone who accumulated nine points from less violent crimes would start serving in a second-tier prison.

        A three-tiered life without the possibility of parole prison system would resemble the following:

Tier 1: Individual rooms instead of cells, jobs within the prison, conjugal visits, unlimited number of family visits, consumption of legal drugs (caffeine, alcohol, marijuana, etc.), access to electronics, a wide variety of meals, access to gym equipment, etc.

Tier 2: Cells instead of rooms, limited jobs within the prison, restrictions on conjugal visits, restricted family visits, restrictions on the consumption of legal drugs, restricted use of electronics, less meal options, limited access to gym equipment, etc.

Tier 3: Cells, no jobs, no conjugal visits, restrictions on family visits, no consumption of legal drugs, no access to electronics, limited variety of meals, no access to gym equipment, etc.