Criminal defendants in the United States

Criminal defendants in the United States

Part 1

Correctional laws are well documented in the constitution. However, amendments have been made throughout the years with the aim of making these laws flexible and to enhance the correction process of those imprisoned making them more productive and law abiding citizens after the completion of their sentences. The laws are amended by the Senate and the Justice System is only present to enforce these laws.

Criminal defendants in the United States are considered to be innocent until they are proven guilty. The Eighth Amendment of the constitution states that excessive bail should not be charged as a way of retaining the criminal defendant before trial. The bail charged should be reasonable to give the criminal defendant the right to liberty until they are proved guilty. A detained individual will not have the freedom to investigate his case and would have served part of the sentence without being declared guilty. The person might not easily cooperate with his lawyer and would not have the opportunity to earn money that is required to make an appeal in case they are pronounced guilty (The Price of Freedom, 2010).

Inmates are not entitled to the full constitutional rights as compared to other citizens. However, it is a requirement for them to receive protection as dictated in the constitution. The 8th Amendment gives inmate the right to demand humane treatment. The prisoners should be allowed to access social amenities as well as protection from sexual or physical abuse. The 5th and 14th Amendments give inmates the right to a speedy and unbiased trial. The 14th Amendment also gives the prisoners right to equal treatment in the correctional facilities.

Prisoners are entitled to recreational activities which transform their lives during the time they are confined in the correctional facilities. This is important for them so that when they leave the facilities; they can be healthy and ready to make positive contributions to the society even after a lengthy sentence (Clear, Cole & Reisig, 2008). Besides the development of important skills and other credentials that help the inmates overcome stigma after their release, daily exercise is key to the adjustment plan. In addition to being fit, daily exercise is a way of alleviating stress that comes with separation from their families.

Each prison in the United States is required to have correction programs as is stated in the constitution. These correction programs are meant for rehabilitation of the inmate for them to become productive members of the society after the completion of their sentence (Clear, Cole & Reisig, 2008). However, many question the legality of these programs claiming that they are not beneficial to the inmates as they ought to be. Others argue that the fact that the programs are available does not mean that they are available to all inmates.

A correctional facility should have all the social amenities that provide a humane environment. However, luxuries such as television, internet and other reading materials should not be allowed. This is because additional of these luxuries would make the correctional facilities an ideal place for many criminals. Prison should not be a comfortable place; it should be a place where criminals dread to go to. Furthermore, it would be unfair to provide these luxuries in prisons yet other law abiding citizens have to work hard to access them.

According to the 8th Amendment, prisoners have a right not to receive cruel and unusual punishments in the correctional facilities. There are no universal definitions of what cruel and unusual punishments constitute, however it can be agreed unanimously that punishment that is inhuman or violates human rights is termed as cruel. This can include deliberately denying prisoners food or medical care or even physical or sexual abuse. Use of hazardous or poisonous things by the prison personnel within the correctional facilities can also be termed as creating a cruel environment.

Inmates should have access to basic medical care, but with the increase in the number of inmates in prisons in the United States has made provision of medical care to inmates very controversial. The questions that lingers are; should all inmates have access to medical care? Should the government spend so much money providing expensive medical care to prisoners? Those who have committed serious crimes should not have access to expensive medical care that is not even affordable to the poor and other law abiding citizens. The cost vs. benefit should be considered when offering extensive medical care to prisoners. Prisoners are people who have already taken so much from the society and we should not continue to aid them by providing extensive medical care.


Kayleah Wilson a 12 year old girl was missing for three weeks and was last seen on her way to her friend’s birthday party. She did not make it to the party and was not seen ever since. Though she has been missing for a long time and the police together with the FBI do not have any promising leads, I would not consider this a death investigation. A missing person who is above the age of twelve is considered missing until their body is found and this is when the missing person investigation can turn to a death investigation.

The investigation should be carried out by questioning all those who are close to her including all family members to establish the cause of her disappearance. Before deciding whether she was abducted, it is important to rule out the possibility that she ran away and that she does not want to be found (Olsen & Kamb, 2003).

If she was murdered and her body dumped, then it would cause some post-mortem changes that would interfere with the identification of the body and the cause of death. Given the rainy season being experienced at this point of the year, this would increase the rate of decomposition making it harder to identify the body. Forensics would have to be employed in the investigation to identify the body and also the cause of death (Sandell & Friedman, 2010).

Now that missing person has turned to a murder investigation, the body should be well analysed for clues that might identify the cause of death. Any physical or sexual abuse should be analysed and possible samples collected to be analysed through forensic methods. Those living close to the areas where the body was found should be questioned including all those who had been questioned earlier due to the drastic change in the investigation.

Part 3

According to Vito et al (2008) statistics provide information concerning the occurrence of crimes and factors that should be considered to enhance reduction or elimination of these crimes. Statistical analysis can cause major positive effects in the Criminal Justice System ranging from patrol officers, criminal courts and even to the Justice Department. With the correct analysis and interpretation of data, Criminal Justice officials are able to assess the current practices to determine whether they are working or not. This way they can change those practices that are not working in the reduction of crime.


Clear, T., Cole, J. & Reisig, M. (2008). American Corrections. New York: Cengage Learning. Print.

Olsen, L. & Kamb, L. (2003). Missing Persons Cases are Routinely Ignored. February 18, 2003. Retrieved from HYPERLINK “”

Sandell, C. & Friedman, E. (2010). FBI Says Badly Decomposed Body is Kayleah Wilson, Launches Homicide Investigations. abc News. May 20, 2010. Retrieved from HYPERLINK “”

The Price of Freedom. (2010). Human Rights Watch. December 2, 2010. Retrieved from HYPERLINK “”

Vito, G., Blankenship, M. & Kunselman, J. (2008). Statistical Analysis in Criminal Justice and Criminology. USA: Waveland Press, Inc. Print.