Law Offices of Thomas C. Mooney - Criminal Defense
Call Today for a FREE Consultation 301-579-3429

Alternative sentencing can reduce recidivism rates

The FIRST STEP Act, which President Trump signed into law in December 2018, was lauded by civil rights advocates in Maryland and around the country as a meaningful step toward a more equitable criminal justice system. The law offers relief to federal prisoners who were convicted of nonviolent offenses, but the overwhelming majority of the nation's inmates are held in state rather than federal detention facilities.

More than 2 million people are currently incarcerated across the country, and civil rights groups claim that this squanders resources that could be used far more productively. While federal criminal justice reform laws do not address this issue, lawmakers in various parts of the country are taking a more proactive approach and have achieved considerable success with alternative sentencing strategies.

Many of these lawmakers turned to New York City for ideas because of the success of innovative programs operated by the courts, nonprofit organizations and prosecutors there. In 1991, jails in the city housed 21,000 inmates. That number has since been reduced by more than 60 percent. One of the most successful programs offered in New York helps offenders to cope with stressful situations using cognitive behavioral techniques that teach individuals to think instead of reacting. Research going back more than a decade suggests that this approach can reduce recidivism rates by as much as 50 percent.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys may encourage prosecutors to consider alternatives to harsh custodial sentences by reminding them that the primary goal of the criminal justice system should be to rehabilitate and not punish offenders. They could also point to research revealing that prisoners incarcerated for long periods are more likely to commit another crime. Attorneys may make these arguments more persuasive with mitigating factors such as a previously unblemished criminal record, sincere remorse, steady full-time employment and the support of family and friends.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Maryland Association For Justice The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers National Association of Distinguished Counsel | Nation's Top One Percent Top Lawyers This is to certify that Thomas C. Mooney has been chosen as a top lawyer in Washingtonian Magazine in 2015
Super Lawyers

Contact Us

14750 Main Street, Suite C
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

Phone: 301-579-3429
Fax: 240-363-0051
Upper Marlboro Law Office Map