Sentencing after Multiple Arrests Essay
Sentencing after Multiple Arrests
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the use of alcohol and the effect that it has on human health. It is worth noting that the controversy has especially been centered on the supposed positive effect that use of alcohol has on human health with considerable resources and time being directed to further research aimed at determining the exact positive effect that ‘getting high has’. However, the effects of being drunk on driving and levels of accuracy that one can attain with respect to logical thinking and ability to control body movement has never been in question.
Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol has negative effects on the levels of control that a driver can attain and is therefore a key risk to the lives of the driver and his crew. Driving under the influence of alcohol is ill advised and is considered a key risk. Thousand of lives and millions worth of property are lost due to engagement in drunken driving and as a result of the cost involved and the effect that it has on lives many advocacy groups push for stiffer measures to act as deterrent measures for drunken driving (Taylor and Oberman 23).
One of the notable developments in the strategies that seek to develop stiffer rules to deal with drunken driving is jailing for repeated offenders of drunken driving. While such a move may appear deterrent on paper, it does little to address the situation and is an illustration of poor decision making and loss of objectivity in addressing issues of social concern. Understanding why people drink is important in understanding what is required of the strategies that seek to address the manifestation of drinking on driving.
It is worth noting that the main cause of dangers and risks associated with drunken driving is drinking or use of drugs and this should be given precedence. Man is known for escapism and jail term for repeated drunken drivers is a manifestation of lack of objectivity that define strategies that man has over the years employed. The development of harsher laws has mainly been a result of an increase in drunken driving and loss of property and life.
With such prevailing conditions it is hard to make objective decisions in that the manifestation of a problems are more likely to be given precedence while ignoring the intricate factors that are central to the problem. This leads to a situation where laws are developed to deal with the manifestation of a problem while the real causes of the problem are left unattended to (Sieh 116). Under such approaches the problem manifests within and grows with time despite the existence of corrective measures.
The close correlation between the development of such measures and the ‘deterrent’ basis that has been used in their formulation is a reflection of loss of objectivity in their formulation. This should not be the case considering that the problem is of social significance and affects lives. Police complaints on an increase in the number of repeated offenders have played a part in increase in call for jail terms for repeated drunken driving offenders. Police report that approximately 73% of the drunken cases are ‘usual suspects’ (Sieh 116).
This has been translated by those lobbying for sentencing of repeated offenders as failure of fining as a deterrent measure thus the need for harsher and more efficient approaches. It is worth noting that statistics on drunken driving are not any different from general statistics on the nature of criminal activities. Justice systems all over the globe and the police have especially reported that their tasks is ‘made boring’ by having to deal with the same criminals over time. Up to 65% of crimes in the US are a result of activities of convicted felons (Spohn 57).
US laws on crime are known to be some of the toughest and still most inner-city neighborhood record crime. The baseline is stringent measure have proved to be ineffective in management of crime; drunken driving as a crime is not an exception thus there will be little being gained with the employment of tougher sentencing for repeated offenders measures. A question is therefore raised on why groups or individuals that claim to be championing the rights and welfare of the society would seek an approach that has failed in numerous occasions to address an issue that is of social significance.
The answer lies in lack of objectivity and the basis that has been used in the development of the measures. The measures are developed as deterrent and are not in any way aimed at addressing the causes of drinking and wanting to drive rather they seek to ‘ strike sense into drunk individuals ‘ by making them think of the consequences of their drinking. The logic in the strategy is lacking in that though the deterrent effect can be felt by sober individuals the same cannot be said of individuals under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
It is amazing how such a simple principle would miss a group of individuals despite claims that their strategies are for the good of the society. The main reason as to why mandatory sentencing is being promoted or supported is due to the effect that it has on individuals. Fines and other conventional approaches to management of drunken driving generally affect the sphere that surround an individual. Recent developments in judicial systems seek restorative justice due to the failure of the punitive approaches in ensuring that individual are handled in a manner that ensure their appreciation of social norms (Taylor and Oberman 132).
Harsh punishments have proved to be quite efficient in making hardcore criminals out of ordinary offenders. Moreover, recommendations being made for sentencing are based on the assumption that it is the best approach and lack a factual basis. The role of correctional facilities in making hardcore criminal is a fact that many researchers are trying to grapple with an understanding its manifestation which simply lies on the effect that the environment has on ones behavior and perception of the society.
There is a high likelihood if the nature of crime is put into consideration that sentencing or repeated drunken drivers will only serve to complicate the problem by making chronic drunk drivers. An objective look at the challenge that is drunk driving should reveal that the problem is drinking and its manifestation is drunk driving. Dealing with the use of drugs and alcohol usage should therefore be the main challenge in addressing the problem and if mandatory sentencing of repeated offender would serve this then there is a chance that it may lead to some improvement.
Contrary to common belief and stories on the unavailability of drugs in state correctional facilities, it is rare for a ‘clean’ person to come out of the facilities without appreciating the ‘joys’ of using drugs. Simply put, mandatory sentencing of drivers with problematic drunken driving adds ‘woes to their problem’ in that they are taken from an environment where there is hope for remedial action to one characterized by drug pins and cut-throats. This does little to address their drug or alcohol use problems and is thus not an objective solution.
A factor that has been stated as being critical in determining the levels of success that one can attain in management of alcohol or drug use is the levels of acceptance that is offered by the society. Being labeled a convicted felon or criminal does not count as being accepted for it affects the perception one has of an individual and reduce the chances one has for personal development (Nwanna 67). On the other hand, most alcohol users do not do it out of necessity rather it is a ‘disease’ or an addiction that they have to deal with.
The society has been appreciative of the addictive nature of alcohol and has developed intervention programs that seek to ensure addicts get the best care and are accepted within the society. Sentencing repeated drunken driving cases goes against established approaches to management of problematic use of drugs. It places individuals in position where they feel they are least appreciated by the society and they are thus at greater risk of drug use. This does little to address the situation and eliminate their propensity of using drugs in future. There has been a general increase in the levels of criminal activities within the society.
The reason for this increase are numerous and range from an increase in poverty due to marginalization to imbalances in resource allocation. Correctional facilities have recorded an increase in their capacities with more emphasis being placed on communal work and restorative justice as approaches to reduce the strain that correctional facilities are on (Taylor and Oberman 46). Drunken driving is as rampant as petty theft or drug peddling in urban areas which present a key risk on the effective use of state correctional facilities if these petty criminals are to do time.
There are far more serious crimes that can really find good use of the limited state resources and subjecting addicts to such treatment amount to torture and poor use of national resources. In an era where the US economy is faced with a number of key challenges it is a shame that some could even think of formulating strategies that would lead to subjective allocation of resources (Gill 87). It is worth noting that sentencing of repeated drunken drivers is not only a manifestation of poor resource allocation but amounts to wasteful use of resources considering that the approach is irrelevant to the nature of the problem.
A lot of heat can be generated from a debate on consideration of drunken driving as a crime. On the other hand, the relevance of using the number of times one has been engaged in a crime as a measure of the seriousness of his crime brings about questions on objectivity. The dangers in drunken driving are equal whether the driver is a first time drunk driver or is a routine drunken driver (Taylor and Oberman 89). The differential treatment of first time and multiple offenders brings about a question on the effectiveness of the measures that have been developed to deal with first time offenders.
It is evident that the measure put in place to deal with the first time offenders are lacking thus the need to develop measures for multiple offenders. Development of a different status of drunken driving and punishment approaches does little to deal with the failures of the low levels approaches. By instituting sentencing for multiple drunken drivers, the justice system will have not only accepted the failure or irrelevance of the intervention for first time offenders but also accepted its inability to develop better approaches.
This should not be the case for a problem that is of social significance. It is evident that the formulation of stringent laws especially sentencing for multiple drunken drivers does little to address the key factors that are behind the problem; alcohol and drug use. Moreover, there is a high risk that by doing time in correctional facilities most drunken drivers reduce their chance of quitting drinking and places them in an environment where they have to relate to hardcore felons which is pushes them into the depths of addiction thus placing them in danger of being serial convicts.
Loss of objectivity in addressing drug and alcohol use as the main cause of drunken drinking is the main factor that has been central to such laws. Such a law eliminate the difference between drank drivers and the people pushing for their enactment for they are both not thinking straight and prone to subjective decisions. The key to solving drunken driving lies in dealing with the high rates of drug and alcohols use that are a result of problems within the society. Work Cited Gill, Frances. The moral benefit of punishment: self-determination as a goal of correctional counseling.
Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2003. Nwanna, Gladson. Americans Traveling Abroad: What You Should Know Before You. Somerville, MA: Frontline Publishers, Inc. , 2004. Sieh, Edward. Community corrections and human dignity. Boston, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2005. Spohn, Cassia. How Do Judges Decide? : The Search for Fairness and Justice in Punishment. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc, 2008. Taylor, Lawrence and Oberman, Steven. Drunk driving defense. McKinney, MD: Aspen Publishers Online, 2005.