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At a court hearing last week Tanya and her boyfriend Roberto each pled guilty for possession with intent to sell 2 bags of heroin to an undercover police officer. Each could receive a possible sentence of 4 ½ to 9 years’ imprisonment. Presentence investigation reports (PSIs) were completed and the interviewer discloses the following:

Tanya is a 34-year-old mother with 2 children, ages 6 and 9. Documentation confirms a long history of substance abuse including a current addiction to heroin. Her mother currently has custody of the children but Tanya visits them regularly and tries to stay in the children’s’ lives. This is her first conviction for drug sales, although she has several misdemeanor convictions for drug possession and 1 felony conviction for grand larceny in 2006 where she received probation. She’s a high school graduate with roughly two years working in various office and restaurant jobs before her drug habit took control six years ago. She’s currently on public assistance and hasn’t worked in several years. Court records confirm that she has been a victim of domestic violence on 2 occasions, both involving Roberto. The presentence officer interviewing Tanya described her as bright, likes to cook, style hair, and has expressed interest in both the medical and legal fields. She wants to be drug free but says that due to her depression over her children and relationship with Roberto, hasn’t done anything about ridding herself of her heroin habit.

Roberto is a 41-year-old parolee whose 3 previous convictions were for drug sales and burglary. He’s the father of Tanya’s 2 children and has been described as a caring father prior to his incarceration. He went as far as the 11th grade in school before dropping out to earn money for the family through factory work and off the books labor jobs. Once he came home in September 2018 his successes in finding entry level work were sporadic at best. As the holidays approached he went back to selling drugs before this most recent arrest. His last several drug screenings at parole have generally come back negative. Roberto’s parole officer states that his client was bright and seemed serious about doing better with his life but said his living arrangements were extremely unstable. He had been living with Tanya but the parole officer removed him after learning of the domestic violence incident with Tanya. He has 4 years left on parole. Roberto was living in a shelter at the time of his last arrest.

ASSIGNMENT: You’re the law clerk for the Department of Probation who, after reviewing the PSIs and researching various resources, are expected to make a recommendation to the judge before the sentence is imposed. Your internal memo will answer the questions listed below:

Provide sound logic to your reasons why Tanya should receive a sentence of one of the following: indeterminate or determinate imprisonment; probation; or an intermediate sanction, making sure you give specific details in describing on the type of sentence you’re recommending. Repeat this assessment and recommendation for Roberto.
Discuss how the recommended sentence for each person satisfies the goal of retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, incapacitation, or a combination thereof.
Select at least 2 resources or services from 2 of the web links below that you feel will justify the disposition of your recommended sentence, giving the name of each agency offering the service, and why you feel the service is appropriate for Tanya. Do the same for Roberto.


RESOURCE WEB LINKS (Providence House) (The Doe Fund/Ready Willing and Able program) (Women’s Prison Association) (The Osborne Association) (Hour Children) (Fortune Society) (Nontraditional Employment for Women) (Program Services: NYS Department of Correction and Community Supervision). NOTE: this is for incarcerated individuals only.)

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