Prisoner Recidivism Finding a Genuine Solution to an American Epidemic

Recidivism refers to the tendency of criminals repeating criminal behaviors after the correctional approach has been used to deter individual from engaging in criminal activities (Aukerman 78). In more elaborate words, recidivism is equated to a situation where former prisoners are rearrested for the same crime even though they had been previously trained and corrected to fit into the society. From science point of view, recidivism refers to the frequency in which ex-prisoners are detected of committing additional crimes after being released from prison for similar crimes. Recently, recidivism has centered criminology debates due to such incidences skyrocketing daily.

According to Koch (2010), the rates of prisoners recidivism is on rise which puts pressure on state and federal budget for rehabilitation and correction departments. This situation is ironical in the sense that despite the enormous amounts of resources spent each year on rehabilitation and correction of offenders, recidivism rates grows each and every day with Koch (2010) estimating that recidivism incidences  accounting to 70 of total arrests and convictions made. Recidivism is commonly recorded in crimes related to sexual assaults, stealing property and aggression which make individual unable to learn from past mistakes.

Although there are many rehabilitation and correctional programs that are already in place, very few are successful in addressing immediate needs of reforming offenders to gain re-entry to community. Moreover, amongst these many excellent rehabilitation and reentry programs available, very few are genuinely focused on addressing the core and immediate needs of community reentry transition of ex-convicts individual from an offender tax consumer to an ex-offender a tax contributor (Aukerman 77-79).

Evidently, the high rate of recidivism of prisoners is a public concern which sets the agenda for this paper to attempt in evaluating genuine solutions to an American epidemic by reducing prisoner recidivism rates in states. In order to do this with precision, the paper shall evaluate and examine recidivism rate in United State, and the current policy used to correct offenders. These components are important because rehabilitations and correction measures used in prison facilities must focus on enhancing a reduction of recidivism incidences in society.

Causes of Prisoner Recidivism
The prison problems experienced in Colorado are directly linked to recidivism and overcrowding in prison facilities. Crimes committed by parolees not only burden the states overtaxed prison system, but it also creates new victims and compromises the security of public. Since the introduction of more aggressive policing, prosecution and sentencing of offenders in late 1970s, the number of prisoners in America had tremendously increased. In this way, the criminal Justice system played a major role in discouraging prisoners to better their lifestyle to gain reentry to the community (Bushway, Stoll, and Weiman 25).

Chen and Shapiro (2007, p.27), states that majority of ex-convicts are likely to land back to prisons due to unemployment in the sense that the society will pay the circumstances if job opportunities are not made available to ex-prisoners. On this issue, (Koch, 2010) recommends that substantial incentives should be put in place to make hiring of ex-convicts more appealing to potential employers to ensure that offenders do not land back to jail. Moreover, there is little evidence that link harsher confinement conditions having effect on recidivism reduction. However, the movement of a prisoner who was assigned minimum security to maximum security showed that the prisoner was most likely to get rearrested upon the release (Chen and Shapiro 27). 

The issue of prisoner over-representation in Colorado should not be overlooked in the criminal justice system. The causes of crimes are many and are varied to various circumstances. The causes are specifically, low standards of living, poor health and nutrition, poor housing structures, low levels of education and lack of employment opportunities, social and family dysfunction, cultural dislocation, dispossession, substance abuse, despair and high levels of mental illness (Koch 394) are all life circumstances that cause an individual to engage in criminal activities. Unless such massive and multifaceted issues are addressed and resolved, the over-representation of convicts within the criminal justice system of Colorado is likely to continue and the rate will keep on increasing. Agencies such as courts and corrective policies are unable to address these deep rooted issues of prisoner recidivism which have defied some solutions for many years up to date.

In attempt to curb recidivism, the Council of State Governments established the politically bipartisan Reentry Policy Council. The policy includes key leaders in communities and state, local and federal governments, state lawmakers, criminal justice policymakers and practitioners. Additionally, this policy council includes workforce development and employment services officials, housing providers and housing system officials, representatives of health, mental health and substance abuse treatment systems, victim advocates, people who have been incarcerated and their families and ministers and others working in faith-based institutions. The aim of the policy is to realize and control prison costs which mean that levels of recidivism are controlled. These are achieved by helping newly ex-convicts establish acceptable lives once they are out of jail. Reentry policies   around the country have been similar or at least somewhat similar to the offender reentry to community policies in other countries (Coley and Barton 252).

In addition, both non-serious and non-violent female prisoners who were imprisoned in women California state prisons were moved to community correctional facilities prior to their release to change environment and avoid overcrowding. On the other hand, male inmates were housed in the new facilities to reduce overcrowding in male prison facilities. The new policy made the inmates housed in facilities that were near their children and families, they were also provided with gender-responsive counseling and services to improve their chances for successful re-entry into the society. The research by Aukerman (2003, p.79) revealed that these measures lowered recidivism rates, improved family reunion by allowing ex-convicts re-entry into the society, facilitated recovery from drug abuse and a significant stabilized women transition to life outside the prison. Thus, families are kept intact by having appropriate pre-incarceration planning and programmes (Aukerman 79).

Intervention for juvenile offenders is significant step in reduction of recidivism rate and the method proofs to be cost effective. The dissemination of intervention policy must win confidence of juvenile offenders and youths whose parents are not involved in the process of justice. Experimental studies are in support of skills-training intervention for reduction of recidivism among juvenile criminals (Blechman, Maurice, Buecker and Helberg 148). The proportions of recidivism rate among the inmates who participated in prison industry  programs during imprisonment is very low  compared  to those who dint participate in the program (Maguire, Flanaga and Thornberry 19). It is evident that the results from the observation that provision of skills training to juvenile offenders achieved tremendous results as opposed to other methods in regard to reduction of recidivism rates. Having prisoners participate in education programmes significantly address possible causes of recidivism which is influenced by lack of skills and education. The most effective policy that has brought change in juvenile criminal justice system is the use of restitution sanction.

The CNN report according to Ravitz (2010) showed that large number of people turned for a job fair designed for convicted individuals which were organized by organizers of the Road to Re-entry Employment Fair. The organization objective was to ensure that individuals with criminal records secured jobs and got reintegrated into society. It emerged out that the number was very high beyond the expectation of fair sponsors, ex-convicts wanted to be productive members of society while the criminal record held them back from securing employments (Koch, 2010). Importantly, employment and decent income has a strong relation by lowering rates of re-offence in the society. It is very important that the legal protection must be provided to ex-convicts in order for them to be employed and accepted by the society (Aukerman 77). Industries such as manufacturing, construction and transport have been distributed to individuals who are willing to accept ex-convicts (Bushway, Stoll and Weiman 95).

Actuarial schemes in regard to sexual violence have been developed in response to the changing legislative in both the United States and Canada. It is argued that the policy is accurate in use of clinical assessments which are associated with recidivism. The increase in epidemic of sexual abuse in the society has made it possible for legislation to increase incapacitation of offenders. The approach is used in designating danger of sexual offenders who requires mental health assessment to predict the risk of future harm to others (Glancy 48).

The business incubation is a revolution and innovative concept which has been established to reduce recidivism within generations. The main objective of business incubation are job creation opportunities in the community, enhancement of entrepreneurship skills, retaining of businesses in the society, development of local industry and diversification of local economy. Most released individuals from prisons are in possession of intellect, business prowess and entrepreneurial skills. Capital and support must be provided to ex-convicts to build successful business firms which will result to good income and job opportunities to other ex-prisoners (Koch, 2010). Following initial private placement financing projects for reentry policy, the parent incubation organization becomes self-funding by retaining a small equity position in each of the incubated enterprises and through an overhead sharing agenda. The portion of total overhead that operate the parent organization and each of the business incubators will be shared equally among ex-convicts population enterprise businesses.This strategy comprises of six major objectives. The first objective is holding of the parent organization accountable to its entire constituency. Second aim is the cultivation of team effort and peer accountability in ex-prisoner population enterprise businesses to practice spending discipline and use of resources prudently. The third aim is that the cost to each business enterprise is expected to decrease as the populations of enterprise businesses grow and develop. Financial incentives must be carefully created, reviewed and approved by the sponsorship of all incubator businesses. Fifth, synergy is created whereby all CEOs have a vested interest on the success of one another and business. Lastly, the entire organization must be self-policing. Among the objectives, the parent incubation organization will build an endowment from the success of its incubated businesses. These in turn provide basis of capitalization growth for a continuing and self-perpetuating business incubation agenda throughout the ex-convict population business enterprise.

Prisoner recidivism can be reduced through the provision of culturally appropriate programmes, the custodial and non-custodial policy. Provision of an effective and culturally appropriate programme is significant to Aboriginal offenders in both custodial and non-custodial environments. The policy reinforces the importance of utilizing the intersection of a native person with the criminal justice system as an opportunity for a beneficial intervention designed to reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

Government policies should intensify social welfare system and civic participation to reduce crimes. Social and cultural contexts are main predictors of recidivism. It is evident that nations with strong social institutions such as community, religion and family experiences low rates of crime and recidivism.  In contrary, where there is low proportions of economic inequality and unemployment are most likely to experience low rates of recidivism, so it is strongly advisable that nations should adopt the policy of equal distribution of resources  and social values (Baumer 50).

One way of facilitating convicts is allowing them to stay near country by encouraging the development of vocational skills is through the provision of work camps. It is evident that work camps seem to be significant traditional forms of incarceration. The policy encourages offenders to work on or near country which results to development of vocational skills, by facilitating engagement in productive work. Work camp provides opportunities to convicts in making a positive contribution to their local community by providing labor in local areas. The programme would enable offenders to live on or near country which contributes to more consistent traditional manner of life, acquiring vocational skills and provision of much needed labor to the community.

It is evident that community based sanctions is effective in reducing recidivism. The response to criminal offence should include sanctions other than the tradition jail term in order for policy to be both effective and cost-effective with aim of long-term change of offender behavior to reduce recidivism. The use of wide range of interventions by involving community service in compliance to sanction proved to be successful. The use of probation as part of intervention reduces number of crime and re-offence. The alternatives policy to incarceration has been established to reduce prisoner recidivism whereby children of prisoners are involved in the program. Some type of community-based sentencing is involved these involve house arrest, halfway houses or day programs at correctional institutions with the mother returning home at night. The survey done on the community-based programs reported reduced recidivism and increased family preservation of values. The policy is effective for women prisoners since community and children are being involved in the process of individual reentry to the society (Coley and Barton 165).

The introduction of penal policy to deal with the convict real world problems is effective in ex-offenders reentry to society. The policy involves formation of small prison group community which comprises of prisoners and prison staff members.  The process is therapeutic, where community is being involved.  Therapeutic process involves the group of   community and prisoners. Prisoners are allowed to narrate their life history and criminal activities with the attention of specialists who are willing to reform and counsel the prisoners. The process is significant for behavior which involves five basic stages namely Recognition, Motivation, Understanding, Insight and Testing.

Availability of education and counseling programs in prisons is significant in reducing prisoner recidivism. Most correctional facilities provide education and counseling programs. Educational systems should provide vocational training, basic adult education, secondary education, special education services, college classes and study-release programs to equip convicts with knowledge and skills needed for the reentry of community (Koch 394). Educational institutions also provided variety of counseling services which are mostly related to alcohol and drug dependency and awareness. Prisons also provided counseling programs to help inmates adjust to the life in community after release. These counseling programs include life skills, community adjustment and employment. The confinement facilities are most likely than community-based facilities to provide counseling programs of all types.

In conclusion, prisons cannot be completely reformed without reduction of recidivism rate. While at the same time recidivism cannot be reduced without creation of more space and programs for prisoners. Giving chance to ex-convicts to secure employment opportunities has benefit to society since recidivism is reduced thus, the funds which could be used in rehabilitation can be diverted to improve other sectors such as health and education. The real action of reducing recidivism resides on creating, designing, delivering and evaluation effective correctional and rehabilitation programmes that are effective.

The current frame for addressing ex-convicts community reentry ineffectively directs political, scientific, and fiscal resources towards the prevention of recidivism. The policy must be reframed by use our resources to uncover the causes of recidivism and further development of primary prevention programs designed to reach a wide range of audience. The society ought to seek to eradicate the self-perpetuating scourge of prisoner recidivism. To make progress on this daring goal, one must be careful  while framing the efforts appropriately by asking and answering the proper question by basing the policies and laws not on moral panic, urban legends,  headlines and easy sound bites but on systemic and comprehensive empirical information about the prevalence and causes prisoner  recidivism . Solutions must be designed   in a way that will take full responsibility for the societal role in allowing the conditions under which ex-convict community reentry can flourish.  Resources are available and knowledge and skills must be developed in formulation the policies which will solve problems of prisoner recidivism.

Despite the flow of criminals into prison, they are expected to be prepared to return to the society and function as productive citizens. Most subsequent studies have found that education and training in prison are significant in reducing prisoner recidivism.  Ex-offenders should be helped to readjust to community life. Re-entry programs are typically short term duration thus just before prisoners are released they should be provided with continuing transition services which are effective in reducing recidivism.

Homeland Security

Homeland security is a term used to describe the security efforts of the US federal government against threats of terrorism. The two primary roles the US government has to offer in homeland security are the preservation of freedom and security of the country which also includes the preparation and responsive plans for any hazards, attacks and disasters.

Homeland security has been described as an intensive national effort to avert terrorist attacks within the United States, lessen US susceptibility to any act of terrorism and reduce the damage and manage the recovery plans if terrorist attacks do occur.  This definition has been conventionally viewed as synonymous to the definition of homeland defense. However, homeland defense still has its specific definition distinct to homeland security. In the U.S. Department of Defense June 2005 document entitled Strategy on Homeland Defense and Civil Support, homeland defense has been defined as the protection of United States of Americas sovereignty, territory, local citizens and critical defense infrastructure against external threats and attacks viewed by the Department of Defense and other attacks viewed by the President as detrimental to the sovereignty of the country (Department Subcomponents and Agencies, 2010). With these two distinct but related definitions, homeland security and homeland defense have been separately maintained by two related branch of the US government, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for homeland security and the U.S. Department of Defense for homeland defense. In a lighter sense, the Department of Homeland security is the one responsible for the broad set of legal authorities of every law enforcement organization that have been assigned for the US citizens protection against external attacks while the Department of Defense is the one delegated for the military forces war combating operations related to the external threats against the countrys sovereignty and citizens.

As a national agency, the Department of Homeland Security contains multiple agencies of the federal, state and local governments that are interconnected to reliably maintain and achieve the mission of preservation of sovereignty and national security. The department is mainly divided into three 1) the department components, 2) office of the secretary and 3) advisory panels and committees.

Among the list of the components under the Department of Homeland Security are the Directorate for National Protection and Programs, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the United States Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  The functions of each department are considered to be distinct from each other- from risk reduction functions and protection of borders, waterways and harbors up to career training of professionals and preparation for hazards and treats to national security.

The Office of the Secretary, on the other hand, is the one responsible for the supervision of activities from local to federal government agencies which all efforts for strengthening the nations borders, intelligence analysis, counter weapons of mass destruction through improvement of technology and intensive response and recovery system are integrated. Under the Office of the Secretary are the Privacy Office, the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of the Counter Narcotics Enforcement (CNE) and the Office of the Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA).

As the last sub-component of the department, the Advisory Panels and Committees Division is responsible for the advices and recommendations for the continual management and improvement of the programs related to homeland security. This division is also in-charge of the coordination between Federal government and private sectors and non-government organizations for the programs in connection with the homeland security.

As the founding purpose of the Department of National Security, counter-terrorism includes detection of explosives and biological weapons for mass destruction, and protection of cyber networks from external threats and attacks. In order to achieve its main goal, the department has designed various systems within the organization. The Homeland Security Advisory System is one of the designed systems of the department which is described as a protective guide measure consists of information about threats, threats major vulnerability evaluation and ensures the proper communication to public officials and its citizens. Another major development in countering terrorism is the use of biometrics for the identification of different people that may pose risk to the country (Stout, 2002).

Gun Violence

Gun violence is one of the most heavily politicized issues in the United States of America. Out of all weapons used to perpetrate felonies, guns, particularly handguns are responsible for most of these crimes (National Institute of Justice, 2010). Gun violence increased rapidly in the 1980s but has significantly slowed down from the early 1990s but the levels are still alarming. In the year 2005 alone, over 12000 people lost their lives because of gum violence and almost half a million were victims of crimes committed using a firearm (National Institute of Justice, 2010). The next year in 2006, 68 percent of all murders occurring in the United States were committed using a firearm (National Institute of Justice, 2010). While almost fifty percent of all robbery cases were reportedly accompanied by gun use, 22 percent of all aggravated assaults involved the use of a firearm, with handguns again being the most reported culprits (Selvon, 2009). With these statistics, gun ownership has become a matter that needs to be urgently addressed. But the question is whether barring citizens from owning firearms will offer a solution to this problem.

Even though statistics show that gun violence is diminishing in the United States, opponents of firearms ownership readily argue that the rates are actually increasing. It is important therefore to analyze the dynamics of the entire cycle to determine actually where the problem lies. Most crimes perpetuated using firearms happen most frequently in poor urban neighborhoods which are commonly characterized by small-time juvenile drug dealers wanting to portray a macho outlook and later join the bigger ranks in drug cartels (Jacobs, 2002). Small arms often find a way to proliferate most in Hispanic and African American males living in poorer neighborhoods (Jacobs, 2002).

The rates of homicide in the United States of America are between two and four times above the rates in countries having a similar economic and political system to it (National Institute of Justice, 2010). The rates are almost as high as they are in developing countries suffering from chronic political instability. Looking at the statistics, gun related homicide and violence is highest in urban areas (National Institute of Justice, 2010). For example, statistics obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigations show that in 2005, rates of homicide averaged 6.1 for every 100000 in metropolitan counties and 3.5 in non-metropolitan counties (National Institute of Justice, 2010). Cities in the Unites States with a total population of over a quarter of a million individuals had mean homicide rates of 12.1 per every 10000 in the same study (National Institute of Justice, 2010).

The primary source of information regarding gun ownership in the United States is provided by the General Social Survey. In the year 2004, a study conducted by the GSS found out that 37 percent of all American citizens owned guns (National Institute of Justice, 2010). 25 percent of all adult citizens owned at least one firearm while 40 percent of all households owned one. The total number of guns in private hand was 192 million, out of which 65 million were handguns (National Institute of Justice, 2010). The guns owned by households were used as defense against crimes. Another study conducted indicated that every year, almost 3 million crimes including attempted assault, robbery and rape are thwarted every year in the United States by homeowners who own firearms and in most of the cases even a single shot did not have to be fired (National Institute of Justice, 2010).

Even though several other research exercises have indicated that ownership of guns intensifies the rate or occurrence of crimes, it is actually the landing of unlicensed guns in wrong hands that is responsible for the high rates of gun violence witnessed in the United States today (Huemer, 2003). Public policy in the country regarding the ownership of guns approaches the issue from a perspective of finding ways through which law enforcement bodies and gun regulatory agencies may intervene to solve the gun issue. Intervention may be necessary when a gun is acquired and also in preventing individuals with a criminal record from purchasing firearms and also preventing juveniles from acquiring firearms (Huemer, 2003). Restrictions are also put in place to regulate who may or who may not carry concealed weapons, illegalizing people from bringing guns to crime scenes and stipulating stiff sentences for those who use guns in violent crime.

With more efficient regulation, guns can actually reduce the rate of gun violent in the society (Stein  Johnson, 1999). Firearms are widely used in recreational activities but if placed in the hands of responsible and law abiding citizens, they can be very effective in deterring violent crimes like burglary, rape and carjacking (Huemer, 2003). Since people with recorded crime histories are most likely to use guns to commit criminal offences, their access to firearms should be limited while law abiding citizens should be allowed to own firearms under license for the purpose of self defense. Easing the channel through which convicted felons can gain access to firearms only makes law abiding citizens who happen to be unarmed more vulnerable to armed gangsters (Huemer, 2003).

There have been cases of juveniles gaining access to firearms and using them to commit serious offenses. Additionally, people with unstable psychological characteristics have been known to commit horrendous crimes if they gain access to firearms. A good example is the case of Charles Whitman who fatally shot 14 people and wounded 23 others around the University of Texas on the 1st of august 1966 (Lott, 1998). More recently in 2007, an international student from the Republic of South Korea named Seung Hoi Cho fatally shot 32 people in Virginia Tech University (National Institute of Justice, 2010). This was the deadliest shooting rampage in the modern history of the United States of America.
Gun control opponents secured a significant victory in June 2008 when the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the proposition that the Second Amendment to the United States constitution does in fact stipulate for strict gun control measures, effectively rejecting the interpretation that such control measures are limited to militias (Selvon, 2009). However, the issue of gun control is not new in American politics. In the year 1934, the House of Congress enacted the first major firearm control that placed regulations on the sale of fully automatic firearms like machineguns (Ludwing  Cook, 2000). Hot on the heels of this act, a new federal law was passed in 1938 requiring all merchants who dealt in guns to be registered and licensed. The 1938 act further prohibited individuals who had at some point in their lives committed violent felonies from owning firearms (Ludwing  Cook, 2000). The Congress did not pass any other gun control acts until the year 1968 when the Gun Control Act was passed to regulate imported firearms and increase the requirements one had to fulfill before being licensed to deal in firearms. This act also expanded the context of people who were not legally allowed to own a firearm to include individuals who at one time were convicted of committing any non-business related felonies, minors (those under the age of 18) mentally unstable or incompetent individuals and those who, with evidence, were at least once used illegal drugs (Ludwing  Cook, 2000).

A Federal Legislative Act was passed in 1986 that stipulated a set of mandatory penalties for all those who would use a firearm to commit a federal offence (Ludwing  Cook, 2000). The use of heavier bullets that are capable of penetrating bullet proof vests like those worn by police officers was also prohibited through this Act (Ludwing  Cook, 2000). But the most effective gun control legislation yet was passed in 1994 by the United States Congress, enforcing a five day waiting period for all those who would apply to purchase firearms (Jacob, 2002). Local law enforcement institutions were also given the mandate to conduct background checks on all people intending to purchase any type of firearm that fits the description of those a civilian can own.

Gun control legislative acts have managed to keep the levels of gun violence down by minimizing the probability of guns landing in the hands of felonies. Even though since the inception of the 1994 gun control act (known as Brady Bill in honor of Brady Bill, President one of Ronald Reagans press aides who was shot and seriously injured in the failed attempt to assassinate the president) only 3 percent of all gun applications have been declined, the penalties imposed on illegal weapon possessors has deterred the proliferation of small arms in the United States (Jacobs, 2002).

Still, gun control activists have maintained that it is way too easy for criminals to acquire guns and use them to perpetuate acts of gun violence (Stein  Johnson, 1999). A worrying trend is the increase in the number of shootings occurring in schools. To curb this violence, parents need to keep all guns, especially loaded guns, away from juveniles. These young people have not matured enough to fully understand the consequences of some of the decisions they make (Selvon, 2009). In addition, there needs to be a deliberate effort to understand students, their special needs and the conflicts they go through while growing up and brood them to develop into responsible and law abiding citizens.

Gun violence is a threat to the safety of people not just in the United States but in most other countries of the world. Whether or not strict control of guns is implemented through legislative acts, the most effective way to counter gun violence is to eliminate or at least minimize the proliferation mainly of small firearms (Lott, 1998). It is an issue requiring the participation of the community, law enforcement authorities, the federal government and international partners in fighting crime. The rate of gun violence is highest in poorer urban neighborhoods, so this would be a perfect avenue of waging the war on illegal arms possession (Lott, 1998). Even if law abiding citizens are barred from possessing firearms while the channels through which small arms proliferate to gangsters and mobsters are still available, the rates of gun violence would still remain the same if they would not escalate. The trade in illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine and crystal meth is one factor contributing to the high prevalence of gun violence since gangs usually illegally arm themselves to protect their interests and their turfs (Jacobs, 2002). These are the guns that end up killing innocent people and robbing banks and other business. The gangs must therefore be crushed if gun violence is to be halted.


Investigators at a crime scene are immediately aware of the need to answer the most pressing questions, which are what crime was committed, by whom, why and how ( HYPERLINK Geberth, 1996). By applying modern crime detection techniques, the investigators are able to narrow down the suspects. Further interrogation of possible suspects can lead to apprehension of the guilty person.

The first task is to secure the crime scene from any contamination. This usually involves cordoning off the area and calling in the scene of crime specialists to collect as much evidence as possible. In homicides cases, this involves taking detailed pictures of the corpse, the area where the body was found, telling signs of struggle and incriminating blood stains. 

It is only after thorough investigations that it can be established whether the homicide falls under first degree murder, second degree murder or manslaughter. First degree murder is a premeditated act ( HYPERLINK Fisher, 2003). The killer plans the act meticulously and decides on the opportune time to execute the person. Second degree murder occurs when an offender causes the death of another person due to provocation or reckless behavior. This classification of homicide can be either intentional or unintentional.
Manslaughter usually refers to those murders described as crimes of passion. The killers in these cases are provoked by circumstances to kill another. Under normal circumstances they would not be violent or anticipate such actions. Examples of such homicides include a spouse killing an unfaithful partner after catching them red handed with their lover. Homicide differs from suicide in that suicide is murder performed by the victim while homicide victims are killed by others.

Coroners need to perform a postmortem to establish the cause of death, the weapon used or the technique employed ( HYPERLINK

GebertheB001HP0M32refntt_athr_dp_pel_1 Geberth, V. (1996). DNA evidence has become very important in revealing the identity of the perpetrator while highly sophisticated forensic techniques can identify not only the time of death but the exact weapon used to commit the murder. Hairs and body fluids found on the corpse can identify the murderer through DNA analysis

By mapping the modus operandi of various murders, the investigators are able to determine with a degree of certainty if a particular crime was committed by the same person since most murderers have signatures that identify a murder as their work ( HYPERLINK Fisher, 2003). This narrows down the list of suspects and gives the law enforcers a head start in their investigations.

In conclusion, investigations into general crimes and especially homicide cases require diligent work by scene of crime specialists to try and recover all the evidence. The coroner performing the post mortem should be keen on any clues that could lead investigators to the murderer. Modern investigative procedures assist greatly in identifying the offender through the use of DNA analysis and forensic tests.

Sociology of Crime

Based on the fact that the aspect of economy and success is relative in ones culture, it should be understood the indigenous peoples definition of economic stability and success. Some societies have the conception of economy based on the supply they get, thus the produce and consume just what they need. In the present situation, the contemporary society determines the mainstream definition of economy.

With the consciousness of the indigenous people regarding opportunities of achieving economic success, I would say that the system failed the people because it pushes them to cope up with the popular notion of success thru economic determinant. But at the same time, the people also failed the system with which they needed to cope up as part of change. This is a thought based from the different sides of the coin, with which we need to look at the point of view of the contemporary society and culture and that of the indigenous people.

To be able for the indigenous people to cope up with changes in society, their ways of living should go with the social structures around them. In this case, opportunities and value in mainstream economy should be of equal access and provision. One of the ways with which this could be done is for government institutions to provide opportunities for living. This will include an effort of course from the Indigenous people themselves to accept that change is inevitable in a culture provided that the government and mainstream society are sensitive enough about the cultural and societal differences among people.

Considerations on beliefs, customs and characteristics of other people should be made for the society to achieve equality and prosper in any aspect including its economy. In this way, the Indigenous people are empowered by achieving goals and recognizing cultural boundaries and at the same time social structures and institutions are being strengthened.


The fundamental roles of standing crime commissions

Organized and serious crimes do pose a vital risk to the economy of Australia and its way of life.  These groups do operate nationally, in the state and territory and the international borders across private and public sectors. The corruption and crime commission in Australia accepts as well as investigates all allegations of misconduct by the police officers and the public officers including those officers that are employed in the local government. It conducts some educational programs with some state government agencies and also in the community to amplify awareness of all misconducts and how to counter them.

The Australian Crime Commission was actually established when Australian Crime Commission Act was effected in the year 2003. It is basically a merge of the National Crime Authority, the office of the strategic criminal assessment and the Australian Bureau of Criminal intelligence. These combinations do give the whole organization the experience and abilities of intelligence and operations. The National Crime Authority is an Australian law enforcement agency that was established in the year 1984. In 2003 it got superseded by Australian Crime Commission. It is meant to lead the national law enforcement response into an organized crime which could ultimately overcome some jurisdictional barriers of the Australian system of federal. There have been many instances where NCA have been criticized for the misuse of its powers and some lack of effectiveness. The primary objective of the ACC is to strengthen the fight against some nationally important crime in Australia and deals with organized criminal activities. It is therefore imperative to analyze critically the role of the standing crime commissions and how intelligence has played a role in fighting crimes.

Australian governments have in the past tackled the problems to do with corruption and the organized crimes by the establishment of specialist agencies that are investigative with some coercive powers that are usually not available to the conventional forces of police. These agencies which are New South Wales Crime Commission, the National Crime Authority, the Independent Commission against Corruption that is located in New South Wales and the Criminal Justice Commission in Queensland were also given the powers which were actually considered to be essential as conventional police methods failed to address the problems. The National Crime Authority which was established in the year 1984 was as a result of the reports of some numbers of royal commissions on the extent and nature of the organized crimes in Australia. The New South Wales Crime commission had its origin as State Drug Crime Commission in a response to some organized crimes mostly those that were drug related. The Independent Commission against corruption did arose from some allegations of a widespread corruption in New South Wales and Criminal Justice Commission got established following the recommendation of the Inquiry commission into some possible illegal activities and some associated misconduct of the police in Queensland.

Though these crime commissions were actually created by the government, to some extent they are the product of the media. The media reports on corruption and some organized crimes of the royal commissions ensured there was public support for all ongoing bodies which had some special powers in combating the menaces. While the governments establish the crime commissions for similar reasons just as they establish the royal commissions, they do wish to bring matters in the limelight and bring all offenders to the court. However, the resources and powers that does enable the standing crime commissions to collect some vital information on some far reaching and complex activities as well as criminal connections, they are incompatible with the investigation of focused individual offences and their trial.

There are patent tensions that are evident in the scope and emphasis of functions of crime commissions in their inquisitive procedures in their investigations and their gathering powers which are usually balanced by those provisions that do limit the use of that kind of evidence against witnesses. This then leads us to wonder the main role of the standing crime commissions. Basically, the crime commissions do have similar focus and origin and their functions as far as legislation is concerned reveal the emphasis on either bringing light to corrupt practices or the investigations which will usually do assemble some admissible evidence for some criminal prosecution to take place. The community and the governments expectation of the crime commission is to do a thorough job in coming up with some admissible evidence.

The NCA has specific and general functions. The General function of NCA is to encompass the analysis and collection of all criminal information as well as intelligence that relates to all criminal activities and the dissemination to enforcement law agencies. They also conduct some ordinary investigations into crucial criminal activities and cooperate with the stake task force and Commonwealth to see into it that this is done. It also has special functions which are to investigate all matters that do relate to criminal activities and where such matters are only referred by the Minister of a State or the commonwealth. The matters are then referred to an Intergovernmental Committee of the State Ministers and Commonwealth which does consider before approving the reference on whether the ordinary police methods are really effectual. Essentially, the NCAS functions focuses on coordination roles and criminal intelligence.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), principal function is generally a vast type of investigation that does not only pick allegations and complaints but all the circumstances that imply that there were corrupt conducts which encourage, allow or cause occurrence of corruption conducts or one that is related to corruption or one that is about to really occur. It deals with deep far reaching inquiries and not just some subsequent trails. They also do advice, report and do educate on strategies and practices to combat the occurrence.

The Criminal Justice Commissions (CJC) addresses problems of some official corruption ordeals and has got responsibilities that extends beyond their area of administration of criminal justice. Its primary responsibilities however is to acquire enough expertise to report and monitor on administration of the criminal justice system in Queensland. The commission also discharges functions that may not be really discharged by agencies or police in investigations of major or the organized crimes. The Standing crime commissions in order to perform their duties fully, they have been offered some exceptional powers. According to Law Council of Australia, its role is to offer intelligence, criminal databases service and investigations on significant crimes that are of public interest. The have a capacity to even compel persons to produce some document in an aid of further investigations and to answer compelling questions. Their coercive powers are essentially reinforced by offence provisions. The ACT states that it is actually a criminal offence to refute to comply with a document notice, fail in appearing at ACC examination or even fail to answer some questions. Also giving misleading and false evidence to hinder and obstruct their work is an offence. The Joint Standing Committee which works with the criminal commission reports and monitors to the parliament on functions of Corruption Crime Commission. They also inquire and report to the parliament on means by which the corruption practices of prevention can be enhanced in the public sector. Additionally, they carry all the functions that are conferred in the committee under the Corruption and Crime Commission Act 2003 (Ken et al, 2007). 

In Australia, there has been threat from some organized crimes from 1970s. The threat is due to criminal groups for example paedophile networks and the motorcycle gangs, ethnic based crimes and criminal networks. Organized crime is usually characterized by capacity and opportunism to shift the resources swiftly using some apparent lawful enterprise in order to disguise their activities. It can be a major corruption and misconduct by the public officers (Kevin, 2005). Threat of organized crimes got recognized by Australian parliament when it finally passed the Act. Its purpose was to reduce and combat incidences of organized crime.

The crime commission however has failed in this area due to some factors like the fact that it is not permitted to hold investigations of organized crimes and its purpose is to grant powers to police to enable them investigate effectively. Also the definition of what is termed as organized crime in the Act makes it complex to investigate as the exceptional powers can never be evoked (Kevin, 2005). While the traditional policing agencies do deal with some organized crimes, it is usually a vast spectrum of work. Organized crimes do require long term investment and focus. There is however constant pressure to the police to go ahead and apply resources to meet the urgent daily policing needs. The combination of traditional police investigations technique and the use of some exceptional powers have been effectual in facilitating proactive investigations to the organized crimes that have been achieved by the traditional criminal methods of investigation.

Intelligence is also a major factor that that plays a big role in the fighting of crimes. Intelligence information has already had its origins in citizens complaints which acts as a tremendous source of information to the police and can be conceptualized by either tactical or strategic data. Tactical intelligence does provide the police and the prosecutors with some localized information that does enable them to build a criminal case (Robert, 1999 ) Tactical intelligence should complement the strategic data as well as provide the law enforcement with some evidence to establish some probable cause in order for them to engage and act in the crime. The intelligence process does demand some major commitment of personnel and time thus the law enforcement should devote some considerable effort of manpower and time before useful information is offered (Robert, 1999).

Corruption and other misconducts have been an integral issue of discussion for many years. For corruption and other social evils to ebb or better still to reduce there ought to be some commission that is responsible for that. It is lucid that the standing criminal commissions have got vast roles and are doing a tremendous job. They embark on corruption ordeals and all misconduct and see to it that justice is done. Criminal intelligence is also an integral concept to be looked upon and see to it that investigations are thoroughly done. More powers should however be given to the criminal commissions for them to fully carry out their respective roles

Standing Crime Commissions

Establishment of standing crime commissions has its roots in the uncovering of the extent of organized crime that went undetected or without proper investigation by the traditional law enforcement mechanisms as shown up the Costigan report. In addition, organized criminal gangs and syndicates knew no state or national borders but the Australian law enforcement was disjointed without even the basic ability to share information among the separate branches of government as well as the different agencies and worse yet, information within the same agencies was not well disseminated.

Traditional organs did not have specialized manpower like lawyers, accountants, auditors, IT specialists etc, who are indispensable to stemming such crime nor did the force have the sufficient wherewithal to do the same especially in the face of numerous other traditional offences and crimes. Unlike Royal commissions, the Australian police lacked access to tax records of individuals, and couldnt require individuals to produce documents or answer questions.

Most of these flaws were remedied e.g. by the creation of the Bureau of Crime intelligence which was tasked with enhancing co-ordination between the varied state bodies and agencies and ensuring that intelligence was shared and effectively used (Carter, 2004). Joint task forces between police were as well instituted to help enhance cooperation across states, while some documents could still be obtained through warranted searches as well as passing additional laws to allow for more flexibility on the part of the police.

Even so, it still proved difficult effectively investigate organized crime within the ordinary legal bounds under which suspects were entitled to remain silent. A fundamental right under common law, which forbid police, as well as courts to compel suspects to answer questions or give evidence. In addition, the police could not be invested with coercive powers, owing to the difficulty enforcing the powers as well as the necessary checks and balances that such a move would occasion among etc. This could only be broken through by the introduction of Royal style commissions complete with coercive powers, which could only be practiced by operating outside the ordinary criminal process, a realization that opened the first Standing crime commission, the NCA.

The argument for the formation of a standing crime commission as against the enhancing the ability of the police to better cope with organized crime also served the need to develop a multi disciplinary approach to investigating crime as well as meeting the realization that the police would be overwhelmed by the new cases that need long bouts of investigations given the fact that the police already struggled with conventional crime.

In addition, the costs of setting up and running a separate agency to investigate combat crime would be infinitely less than attempting to equip, train or hire more specialized staff for a large and bloated police force.

The NCA was set up to bolster efforts in reigning in organized crime that could not be fought effectively by the traditional organs for lack of capacity as well as legal constraints. These resulted from the lack of intelligence which made efforts to fight crime narrow, reactive and not anticipative. (Fleming  Wood,  2007). But such sweeping powers to override witness right to silence proved unnecessary for the NCA, a specialized investigative body whose mandate is simply to gather enough valid evidence to facilitate a successful prosecution. This could only be remedied by setting up separate special agencies such as ICAC that could get the truth, irregardless of what was admissible in court and as such help in gathering intelligence about crime.

The NCA was as well accused of misuse of power, ineffectiveness as well as political interference etc which led to its replacement with the ACC, charged with even greater responsibility of streamlining government as well as legislative framework.

Strategic intelligence allows authorities to anticipate crime and thusly get an edge over Criminals and make the process of fighting crime more proactive.

For successful as well as maximum utilization, raw data as well deduced intelligence must be shared among relevant bodies, and at relevant times to allow for the different sources of data to be analyzed and integrated in, order to come up with meaningful information, useful in anticipating crime and potentially preventing it. This should be done without jeopardizing the said information or compromising the final ends of such intelligence gathering. Whether or not information should be shared with the public or otherwise, calls for drawing a line between information and intelligence as well as distinguishing between strategic as well as tactical intelligence.

Tactical information is by its very nature aimed at decision making by relevant authorities as to emerging trends in crime as well as possible ways to combat it and as such sharing such information with the public which includes the criminals would serve to preempt the very purpose of gathering the same information unless such sharing is equally strategic. Tactical intelligence could be shared with the public where appropriate and such sharing is particularly helpful is enlisting the help of the public in arresting offenders, making targets less vulnerable as well as mitigating against the risks involved.

The success of intelligence based approach in fighting crime depends on the effectiveness of the dissemination and integration of the information to those who need it, and keep away from those who must not have it but also the effective use of the intelligence gathered to make the desired objectives.

Introduction of Standing Crime Commissions have made it possible to take advantage of intelligence based modes of dealing with organized crime by allowing such commissions more flexibility in obtaining the intelligence from suspects. Thus thusly, commissions serve an important role in not only assembling enough evidence that can stand up in court e.g. the NCA but other commissions e.g. the ICAC offer valuable intelligence.

In addition, in investigation official of corruption, big time corruption as well as other matters that the police cannot take on, or cannot be trusted to take on owing to the official secrets act, as well as other legal and political constraints, the commissions play a crucial role in bringing perpetrators to book.

These agencies are also advantaged in that they draw their staff from not only the police, but from other specialized professions giving them an edge over the traditional organs. This coupled with it cross jurisdictional reach that these commissions have, which make the more effective.
Other roles, tackling public indifference towards the justice system through public education and provision of necessary information to enlist the assistance  of the general public in fighting organized crime, official corruption etc.
Investing sweeping powers in these standing crime commissions though crucial had to be regulated and hence the existence of a special parliamentary committee to oversee their work and keep them to the straight and narrow. Cases of abuse of power though still exist and were bound to, to the detriment of civil liberties in the country (Carter, 2004).
Though the need to reign in organized crime is doubtless important. But this is hardly a justification for the setting up of myriads of standing crime commissions, most of which with overlapping roles and efficiency.

These agencies too have had to come up against changing environments in which they operate. The initial need to have crime tackled from a multi disciplinary angle did not produce agencies that partnered with the police in the face of crime, but ones that the police have learned to either compete with or envy. Not least because of the large amounts of resources availed to these commissions, sweeping powers as well as their successes in uncovering insidious corruption. The roles of standing crime commissions need to be redefined to avoid overlapping with each other or competing with the traditional roles of the police. This will help cut back on costs of running the police as well as special commissions and minimize inefficiency.