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Please select one of the following topics, and give your opinion about the impact it had on criminal justice policy. Submit a substantive main post that enables student colleagues to continue the discussion throughout the unit.

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1) Tapia v. United States (2011)


                                                       CLASSMATE’S POST

In order to facilitate the administering of a drug treatment program the judge presiding over Tapia v. United States (2011) imposed a sentence of incapacitation by incarceration for a period of four years and three months. The judge justified the length of the sentence by indicating that the sentence was prolonged to ensure enough time was allotted for the completion of the drug treatment program. A review by the U.S. Court of Appeals resulted in the ruling of the lower court being upheld; however, certiorari was subsequently granted. Upon further review by the U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision by the Roberts Court, the ruling was cast in favor of Tapia indicating that a sentence may not be prolonged to accommodate the rehabilitation of a criminal offender (Tapia, n.d.).

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Albeit there are rehabilitation options such as drug treatment, psychological therapy, and other prison programs that provide educational opportunities and technical training to assist with reintegration, the primary purpose for sentencing a criminal offender to incarceration is incapacitation. Incapacitation provides an effective measure to punish criminal offenders for egregious criminal offenses, holds habitual offenders accountable, and removes criminal offenders from society in order to protect the citizenry from further victimization (Gau, 2018; Schmalleger, 2016). Although there are rehabilitation options available while incapacitated through incarceration, many rehabilitation options are not mandatory and require the desired participation of the criminal offender to be successful. The U.S. Supreme Court case Tapia v. United States (2011) has provided that the imposing of a longer sentence of incarceration to allow rehabilitation efforts to take place is not a viable or acceptable course of action. As such, if time does not permit the successful application of rehabilitation options then rehabilitation may not be an option (Tapia, n.d.). The ruling of Tapia v. United States (2011) has resulted in the limitating of public policy in relation to the mandating of rehabilitation beyond the timeframe of the length of the sentence imposed (Gau, 2018).


Gau, J. M. (2018). Criminal justice policy: Origins and effectiveness. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Tapia v. United States. (n.d.). Oyez. Retrieved October 11, 2019, from https://www.oyez.org/cases/2010/10-5400

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