Pre-trial diversion is a punitive approach where one evades trial in a court of law but is sent back to the community though under tight supervision until the law enforcement officials are contented that he or she has reformed. This mode or approach to punishment is mostly applied to perpetrators of minor offences. If one does not commit any crime during the period under which they are being monitored, then all the records incriminating them are destroyed or sealed. Pre trial diversion is common among the first time offenders and excludes the serious criminal offences. Programs offered under the pre-trial diversion try to rehabilitate the offenders by addressing the factors that are likely to trigger recidivism rates among criminals. They also address the needs of the victims of crime thus promoting harmony in the society. Offenders under this program are counseled by professionals and offered community service work to conduct under supervision. Drug related cases are addressed using the pre trial diversion and offenders are placed on drug free programs and may be required to engage in community service such as donating money to orphanages or hospitals. In most cases, the pre trial diversion has yielded positive results as people enrolled in them recorded lower recidivism rates. These programs also ensure that the costs used in the rehabilitation process through incarceration are reduced. The problem of prison overcrowding is also not magnified when this approach is embraced.

The major problem with the pre trial diversion programs emanates from their application rather than their intended objectives. These programs may be recommended in some instances that could have otherwise required other punitive measures leading to loss or wastage of human resources and money. The rehabilitative effect of these programs can also be compromised when they are applied to cases that are not likely to recur. The selection or determination of who requires the pre trial diversion may also ensure that people who need the services are deterred thus failing to rehabilitate them effectively as a society.

Another challenge associated with the pre-trial diversion is finances. Most of these programs are funded by Local County as well as client fees and the inadequate funds may affect their effectiveness. Inadequate staffing also affects their effectiveness.

Outline the U.S. Supreme Court cases that dealt with the constitutionality of the death penalty.
Coker v. Georgia of 1977 is where Coker escaped prison and when perpetrating other capital crimes raped a woman and was to be sentenced to death for rape. According to the US constitution this was deemed grossly disproportionate and excessive punishment. This case emphasizes that punishment within the US jurisdiction ought to match the offence committed. Rape in this case was not viewed grave or severe enough to warrant capital punishment. Rapists were viewed more lenient in the sense that unlike murderers they do not kill. The Furman V. Georgia 1972 case is also an example of how death penalty should not be introduced especially for rape cases which are not similar to the taking away of another persons life.

Roper v. Simmons case of 2005 exempts juveniles or those below 18-21 years depending on the state from being executed on grounds of their reasoning capacity. Application of death penalty is restricted to adults.

The Gregg v. Georgia 1976 involved the robbery with violence where two people lost their lives. The jury found Gregg guilty and argued that life imprisonment or death penalty could suffice as punishments but favored for death penalty. This case was however viewed unacceptable according to the constitution as it cited retribution and deterrence factors to justify death penalty.

The McCleskey v. Kemp 1987 case argued against racial discrimination in the application of death penalty citing the 14th and 8th amendments of the constitution.

In the Ring v. Arizona case of 2002 it was agreed that although it is against the 14th amendment, death penalty may be viewed as constitutional in the 8th amendment when the states applied the required procedural safeguards. (Cornell University Law School). This may have been established on the grounds that it would be of a greater good either to the individual or to the entire society.

The Witherspoon v. Illinois 1968 case saw jurors given a chance to adopt any stand regarding capital punishment. This way bias against or for death penalty would be eliminated and the voices of the people would also be respected as opposed to when a jury favors one stance. (Cornell University Law School). Religious backings to oppose death penalty should however not be very significant when defining capital punishment as cruel but the constitution should be applied.

In the Woodson v. North Carolina 1976 case, capital punishment is viewed as one where the chances of depriving off innocent peoples lives are possible. In this case Woodrow who was under the influence of alcohol was dragged into committing a robbery where two people were killed. Although Woodrow claimed to have done nothing wrong he and the three other were all condemned to death. According to the prevailing California laws they were guilty of first degree murder.

Compare and contrast the use of death penalty for juveniles.
Death penalty on juveniles is a topic that sparks varied viewpoints across the globe since time immemorial. The US Supreme Court in the Thompson v. Oklahoma 1988 ruled against the execution of any person who committed a crime below the age of 16 although nations were at liberty to extend the age limit. Varied viewpoints as to whether to impose death penalty on children below 16 or 17 years have been recorded. Opponents of death penalty for juveniles argue that due to their level or stage of development, children should not be held accountable for their misdeeds to the extent of imposing severe punishment such as death. They also argue against juvenile death penalty on the grounds of decency and the fact that minors have a chance and ample time to reform. In this respect, they ought to be rehabilitated through counseling and guidance rather than being condemned to death. Again, various research findings have revealed that the human brain continues to develop until teenage and opponents cite this against death penalty for the juveniles. Juveniles are also argued to be of less mental, planning and emotional capabilities and thus making an inappropriate group to be executed for crimes.  

Proponents of death penalty argue that people ought to be responsible for their actions and that the age factor should not play any role. They argue that if death penalty is applicable to adults it should also be applied to children who are found guilty of heinous crimes such as cold blood murder too. Death penalty is also favored for its deterrence and retributive justice effects. Its argued that since most juveniles convicted to die are guilty of heinous crimes such as murder, their victims would not feel contented with the justice system if the criminals were not severely punished. Another issue raised in favor of juvenile death penalty is the deterrence effect. The notion here is that the mere knowledge that a given misdeed attracts severe punishment as grave as death would impose fear and juveniles would not commit capital offences. The knowledge that they can commit crime and get aware with it due to their age may increase their criminality tendencies.


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