BCJ2000 Columbia Southern Unit IV Sentencing and Policing Discussion #1 Question class BCJ 2000 As you have learned, sentencing plays a crucial role in th

BCJ2000 Columbia Southern Unit IV Sentencing and Policing Discussion #1 Question class BCJ 2000

As you have learned, sentencing plays a crucial role in the American criminal justice system. Without fair and equitable sentencing practices, every other element in the criminal justice process fails.

Considering the sentencing types we have examined, in your opinion, which one is most effective? Conversely, which type do you feel is the least effective? Explain your reasoning.

I have to Respond To My Classmates Board Question He Wrote:

In my opinion, determinate sentencing is the most effective form of sentencing. Determinate sentencing marks each crime with a specific amount of time that must be served once an individual is convicted. It also provides a means for when the offender and the victim to know when the release of the individual who is incarcerated is going to be released. In Virginia (where I live), the local law enforcement agency is also required to be notified when an offender is approaching a “good time” release back into the community. Voluntary/Advisory sentencing seems to me to be the least effective because it can allow too much disparity between on offender and another. This creates conflict not only in the court system but in the correctional system as well because one offender incarcerated for the same offense as another could be serving less time. Voluntary/Advisory sentencing could also create distrust in the court system because of the weight of sentences handed down over time not being the same for all offenders.

#2 Question for BCJ 2001

Automobile police pursuits have taken a lot of criticism in the past. Describe why you feel that this method is either beneficial or not beneficial to police work. Do you believe that high speed pursuits are worth the risks they pose to ordinary citizens? Explain your answer.



Police departments use varying strategies to combat crime. Discuss the various proactive tactics being used by investigators.

Your response should be at least 200 words in length.
The Kansas City Patrol Study was the first study conducted to test the effectiveness of random routine patrol. Describe the findings of the Kansas City Patrol Study.

Your response should be at least 200 words in length. UNIT IV STUDY GUIDE
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit IV
Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
3. Compare the sentencing and court structures of the American court system.
3.1 Describe indeterminate and structured sentencing.
3.2 Describe the four sentencing options currently employed within the American
sentencing structure.
Reading Assignment
Chapter 9:
Click here to access the chapter presentation.
Click here to access a PDF file of the presentation.
Unit Lesson
According to Schmalleger (2016), deterrence seeks to influence behavior to inhibit criminal acts. The goal of
specific deterrence is to reduce the likelihood of repeated offenses by those convicted; whereas, general
deterrence seeks to influence those who have not yet committed a crime or who may be tempted to commit a
crime. For example, you know that if you decide to commit a robbery, you will face prison time. Most rational
people will decide not to commit a crime that risks the loss of freedom and are deterred. Similarly, one may
have been convicted and sent to prison for a crime and realize that any future crime will place him or her back
inside, so he or she is deterred from repeating such an offense.
Rehabilitation seeks to reduce the number of crimes committed. This can be done through social and
educational programs such as drug treatment programs as well as psychological treatment and therapy. This
sentencing goal had also been met with much debate with Schmalleger (2016) citing in the 1970s that
although one might enter into a prison-based treatment or rehabilitation program, up to 90% of those
offenders released from prison recidivate. However, evidence is now surfacing that suggests there are
treatment programs that are effective.
Restoration is a sentencing goal that seeks to address the damage done to the victim of the crime. Those
victimized by an offender, or crime, can suffer dramatic physical and psychological injury that can last a
lifetime. Restoration addresses such issues by attempting to make the victim whole again through victims’
assistance and compensation.
Sentencing practices are another key element you must understand in order to have a comprehensive
understanding of the American justice system. Sentencing practices hinge on each of the sentencing goals
just discussed. What you will focus on in this lesson will be the use of indeterminate sentencing.
Indeterminate sentencing seeks to encourage rehabilitation and involves the use of general sentences
(Schmalleger, 2016). This model of sentencing allows discretion by the judge to consider degrees of guilt as
well as an offender’s character in order to decide on an imposed penalty.
As you can imagine, because of this discretion by a judge, much debate surrounds this topic. Some have
questioned how effective indeterminate sentencing can be with a human element as a judge’s personal
philosophy and personality involved. Criticism surrounds this sentencing practice because situations often
end up with either too lenient or too strict of a sentence that is perceived to be based on personal and social
elements such as race, gender, or social class. So, if indeterminate sentencing is not the answer, what
solution is one left with? Another option is structured sentencing. The premise behind structured sentencing
BCJ 2000, Introduction to Criminal Justice
involves the principles of proportionality, equity, and social debt. This form of sentencing,
about in the
1970s, is a mix of sentencing guidelines (Schmalleger, 2016).
Determinate sentencing requires an offender to be sentenced to a set amount of time, a fixed term, which can
be reduced with good behavior. This eliminates the need for parole and clearly outlines the specific
punishment for the specific crime.
Voluntary/advisory sentencing is the application of recommended sentencing policies. These policies are not
required and are usually based on past practices in similar cases. Such guidelines are built on both
determinate and indeterminate sentencing in an effort to provide a balance.
Presumptive sentencing involves three elements:

an appropriate sentence within a range of sentences set forth by sentencing guidelines,
an expectation that a judge will follow that sentencing range or will provide an explanation as to why if
he or she does not follow that range, and
a mechanism, such as an appellate court, for review when there is a departure from the
recommended range. This can be seen when a post-conviction appeal is made.
This unit enabled you to gain a comprehensive understanding of the sentencing structure within the American
criminal justice system. There are many angles from which to look at how punishment is carried out and how
an offender is dealt with once convicted. While this lesson provided two critical factors, sentencing goals and
sentencing practices, you still must decide for yourself what works best to address crime and punishment.
Schmalleger, F. (2016). Criminal justice: A brief introduction. (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Learning Activities (Non-Graded)
Complete the “Questions for Review” at the end of chapter 9.
Click here to access a presentation containing review questions and answers for this unit.
Click here to access a PDF file of the presentation.
Non-graded Learning Activities are provided to aid students in their course of study. You do not have to
submit them. If you have questions, contact your instructor for further guidance and information.
BCJ 2000, Introduction to Criminal Justice
Patrol Operations and
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit IV
Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
4. Examine the impact of policing evolution in the United States on patrol operations.
4.1 Discuss patrol operations and the functions involved in them.
4.2 Discuss investigation operations and the activities of a detective in a police agency.
9. Interpret how emerging drug trends affect crime and the criminal justice system.
9.1 Describe undercover drug investigations and other sting operations carried out by the police.
Reading Assignment
Chapter 9:
Patrol Operations
Chapter 10:
Unit Lesson
Law enforcement officials are often confronted with the dilemma of pursing fleeing suspects during highspeed automobile pursuits. The question that law enforcement officials face is whether the benefits outweigh
the risks associated with automobile pursuits.
Automobile pursuits carry the risk of inquiry and/or death to law enforcement officials and the public.
Research shows an increase in overall police pursuits and an increase in injuries and death related to police
pursuits (Hill, 2002). There are some gruesome statistics in police pursuit records. “Research shows that
police pursuits become dangerous quickly. For example, 50 percent of all pursuit collisions occur in the first
two minutes of the pursuit and more than 70 percent of all collisions occur before the sixth minute of the
pursuit” (Hill, 2002, p. 15). Also, research shows that one out of 100 high-speed pursuits result in a fatality
(Hill, 2002).
The public has also expressed their opinion on automobile pursuits. The public wishes for safety within their
community; however, they do not wish to be placed in harm’s way as a result of police pursuits. “One study
found that 58 percent of people interviewed reported that police act correctly when they pursue a motorist
who does not stop. When asked if the police act correctly when the pursuit endangers public safety, support
decreases by 29 percent” (Hill, 2002, p. 15).
Law enforcement agencies should foster training and make certain that agencies preserve a comprehensible
and coherent police pursuit procedure. This is one approach that can be utilized to lessen the hazards and
threat linked to police pursuits. Training is essential to reduce the risks and dangers of automotive police
pursuits. Training should include policy clarifications and vehicle pursuit tactics. Law enforcement officials not
only need “behind the wheel” training, but they also need classroom training. Training should be ongoing and
continuous throughout the officer’s career. Research shows that there is a lack of training within law
enforcement agencies for automobile pursuits, especially amongst seasoned officers (Hill, 2002). Officers are
receiving training in police pursuits when they are attending the police academy; however, there is a lack of
continuous pursuit training. Training can possibly curtail some of dangers that are associated with police
Even with training, effective and efficient policies for police pursuits must be put into place for law
enforcement officers and agencies. Within these policies, alternatives to pursuits should also be addressed.
BCJ 2001, Theory and Practices of Law Enforcement
One of the most effective methods to reduce the risk associated with pursuits UNIT
is for officers
cease the
pursuit. “Research on pursuit data and statistics shows that termination dramatically
Title could reduce traffic
accidents, fatalities, and injuries” (Hill, 2002, p. 17). When addressing the safety of the public and the
endangerment of citizens, law enforcement agencies must reassess their reasoning and decisions on police
Other methods that assist in police pursuits are electronic devices. One example of electronic devices is the
spiked strip. Officers can utilize this resource by positing the spiked strip in the route of the escaping suspect.
When this resource is utilized, it punctures the suspect’s tire. Agencies have been utilizing these spiked strips
with increasing effectiveness.
Another technology is the idea of using ultrasonic devices that will send energy waves to a suspect’s vehicle.
These energy waves will cause the electronic system within the suspect’s vehicle to fail. This type of
technology is being tested to determine the effectiveness and safety of utilizing these devices.
One last alternative for ending pursuits is the use of helicopters. The use of helicopters has shown great
results. Many large cities utilize helicopters during pursuits, including Baltimore, Miami, and Philadelphia. The
advantages of using helicopters during pursuits are that they allow officers to decrease their speeds, which
reduces accident risks and endangerment of the public and the officers. Localities that cannot afford their own
helicopters can develop regional partnerships with other cities and share resources.
Police pursuits create a vital public safety concern. Police pursuits are dangerous and should be utilized only
when it is absolutely necessary. Law enforcement agencies should provide appropriate pursuit training to new
officers and veteran officers. The department should have a clear policy and a guidance procedure on police
pursuits and how officers should handle these pursuits. Law enforcement agencies should also utilize
alternative methods to police pursuits if it is appropriate.
For more information regarding the patrol functions of police officers, please view the following interactive
The investigative process is also an important component of police work. In order to efficiently investigate
crimes and criminals, law enforcement agencies may utilize sting operations and other enforcement methods.
Sting operations are usually performed by undercover agents who obscure the fact that they work for a law
enforcement agency. There are generally two types of sting operations. The first type occurs when an agent
masquerades as a contributor to unlawful activities. The agent could possibly pose as a seller or buyer of
illegal goods or services. The second type of sting operation occurs when a decoy is set up. An agent may
pose as a potential victim in order to lure unlawful activity. “For example, a plain clothes cop walks alone at
night in a secluded area, inviting attackers” (Hay, 2005, p. 4). The officer would then arrest the would-be
Sting operations also have two central objectives. The first objective consists of an informational/investigatory
operation. The purpose of informational/investigatory operations is to detect those individuals who participate,
or are likely to participate, in unlawful activity. In these instances, law enforcement officials may suspect an
individual to be a participant in illegal activity but lack sufficient evidence to prove it. In order to prove that this
illegal activity is occurring, law enforcement officials set up a sting. The sting is established in order to provide
an environment for the target to perpetrate the crime so adequate evidence can be discovered. The sting
operation can also be established to pinpoint unidentified criminals. The goal of these types of operations is
get the unidentified individual to share information about themselves to law enforcement officials. From a legal
stance, the sting in both cases provides a method for removing a lawbreaker from the community.
The second purpose of a sting operation is to serve as a behavioral deterrent. Would-be culprits are less
likely to break the law when they know that an apparently genuine criminal opportunity may be a police trap
(Hay, 2005). The goal of these types of stings is to deter criminals and criminal activity. For example, the
government may announce ahead of time that a sting operation will be employed to apprehend individuals
who partake in illegal activity.
There are other methods of gaining information about criminal activity that do not involve sting operations.
These other methods do not involve the deceitfulness that some correlate with sting operations. One example
BCJ 2001, Theory and Practices of Law Enforcement
of this alternative method is the use of surveillance. When surveillance is utilized,
focus on observations of crimes and do not participate in the unlawful activity.Title
Some examples of surveillance
include security cameras, wiretaps, law enforcement officers who patrol the community to watch for crime,
and spies who eavesdrop on alleged lawbreakers. The main difference between surveillance and a sting
operation is that agents do not participate the unlawful activity. Agents monitor illegal activity and
subsequently apprehend the individual when utilizing the surveillance method.
With sting operations, entrapment must be considered. Entrapment is the process of law enforcement
inducing individuals to violate criminal laws for the primary purpose or arresting and prosecuting. Entrapment
is based on the notion that individuals should not be found guilty of a crime that was initiated by law
enforcement. Entrapment is a defense that is commonly used in court, and law enforcement officials should
be aware of the possibility of entrapment being raised as a defense.
For more information regarding criminal investigation, please click the following link to view the interactive
Hay, B. (2005). Sting operations, undercover agents, and entrapment. Missouri Law Review, 70(2), 1-46.
Hill, J. (2002, July 1). High-speed police pursuits: Dangers, dynamics, and risk reduction. FBI Law
Enforcement Bulletin, 71, 14-18.
BCJ 2001, Theory and Practices of Law Enforcement

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