December 4, 2014
Prison Term Policy Recommendation Proposal Soon the California state legislature will vote upon a bill that will potentially double the maximum prison term for anyone convicted of armed robbery. This particular bill is gaining popularity among both parties of the legislature. However, I think it would be beneficial to examine it with a little more discretion than it is currently getting. According to the California Penal Code, Section 211, it defines robbery as “taking personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his ill, accomplished by means of force or fear” (CA Codes, 2014). Back in the colonial days, the act of robbing someone was culpable by death. Though today, the U.S. Constitution prevents capital punishment on those individuals convicted on robbery alone, but if the individual were to also kill someone during the robbery, the offender could be facing a death sentence under a felony murder charge. The task at hand requires me to write a proposal for the upcoming bill. As of now, the minimum sentence for armed robbery is three to seven years, and the maximum sentencing is twenty-five years to life, which is determined by the severity of the crime. What the government is suggesting is that the minimum sentence should be increased to twenty years and the maximum to life in prison, without the chance of parole if there is a prior criminal history of the offender. Many crimes that go through the California criminal justice system are met with minimum sentence requirements. These rules have come into conflict with the public and affects how they view armed robbery offenses. By proposing stronger sentences, the public will feel and view this bill as an answer to the rise of violent crimes, particularly armed robberies. It will force prosecutors to impose these stronger sentences, without the ability to plea bargain cases of offenders that have a prior violent criminal history. Before making this recommendation, we must see the crime rate in urban and suburban areas, along with surrounding towns and counties in California. Specifically, there must be a study on the direct correlation of robbery increase in these areas and how the communities are affected.
The following is a list of California cities stating the population number as well as the number of reported robberies from each city in the year 2012, respectively : San Diego- 1,338,477 and 726; Sacramento- 476,557 and 576; Fresno- 506,011 and 475; Garden Grove- 175,076 and 66; Visalia- 127,604 and 67; and Selenas- 154,413 and 241 (Crimes in the United States 2012-2013). These are