Pressing (Penology)

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Correctional conscription, otherwise known by the slang "pressing", is a method of penal rehabilitation known to be used by the AS government, which involves offering a civilian offender the opportunity to serve in the Antarctic State Military for a term of four years instead of spending time in jail or prison, hence "pressing" them into enlisting. Its use in convictions is focused upon those who have committed non-violent crimes, including some but not all victimless crimes.

History

While the punitive method of "pressing" did not originate in Cyberia, it has been used since the beginning of its formation as a country, starting as compulsory non-combatant military service as punishment to conscientious objectors. It was officially documented as an intermediary between freedom from conviction, and incarceration. Those who had been pressed into military service very often had a derogatory mark on their record as a serviceman or servicewoman, which put them at a notably higher risk than other, non-offending personnel for more severe further punishment if convicted again, on top of being put in an environment that had much stricter rules on various facets of life.

A famous non-Cyberian example of this method being used was in the pressing of Jimi Hendrix in the United States in 1961; he was twice caught joyriding.

Practical Use and Restrictions

The Justice Department decides what sentences criminals are given after conviction. This is where it is possible for a judge to offer an offender the opportunity to serve the military instead of serve jail or prison time. The offender is informed of the stipulations that choosing the former option will result in less-than-good standing within the military, in that they will join with a derogatory mark on their military record documented automatically. This effectively results in the new recruit "skating on thin ice" so to speak; they will be more susceptible to already relatively harsher punishment by the military, should they make another infraction while enlisted.

A judge is not required to nor are they expected to offer correctional conscription to an offender. However there is an official, established process that pressed criminals are subjected to, should they consent to being processed. The Defense Department, which processes recruits, has the power to reject a pressed offender for a variety of reasons, including not fitting physical, mental and/or medical requirements to serve in the military in the first place. Judges, being military personnel themselves, have general notion of what would and would not make a person at least barely acceptable for enlistment. Rejection will cause sentencing of the offender to fall back on the predetermined jail or prison time.

Although judges may technically press any convicted person; among other restrictive circumstances, generally only those who have committed non-violent crimes are able to be granted correctional conscription. Examples include unregulated street racing and possession of illegal substances.

Those who are successfully pressed are eligible only for objectively lower-level military jobs, usually without access to sensitive government information or government issued weapons. These jobs are given directly, rather than requested by the pressed recruit; the pressed recruit has no choice in this matter. The jobs given are narrowed down based on the convicted person's crime and extrapolated future behavior.

Once in, a pressed recruit already has a derogatory mark put on their military record, detailing the past crime that was committed and the fact that they were given correctional conscription as a result of the crime. This, coupled with the already strict military rules, subjects the person to worse punishment than other personnel would receive; worse than the sentence they would have received for the previous crime, if they were to step out of line again. This what serves as the correctional environment for the convict, meant to rehabilitate the offender in order to reduce recidivism.

Advantages

  • Reduction in overpopulation of jails and prisons
  • Allows convict to maintain ties to the outside world
  • Offers convicts a better chance at a career once released from duty
  • Offers convicts a "second chance" to better themselves as opposed to retributive confinement


Disadvantages

  • Potentially allows those with deeper, hidden criminal intent into the government ranks
  • There are reports of pressed enlists being treated unjustly by commanders and fellow personnel

Criticism

Some civilians and military personnel alike dislike the concept of correctional conscription for many reasons. Most objectors to pressing say it isn't right for criminals to be put in subjective positions of power; others believe that criminals should not be offered an alternative to incarceration to begin with; and even some commissioned officers dislike the idea of commanding convicts, as if they were acting as wardens to lawbreakers exchanging incarceration time for military service.

There are also people that believe there should be more strict rules and guidelines put in place regarding the concept of correctional conscription. For example, some believe that due to the ability for judges to technically offer any convicted person a term in the military, this technically makes it possible for serious felons such as murderers to gain a "cushy government job".

See Also