Controversial legal battles that occur on the state level may reach the Supreme Court due to their complexity. When an issue is confronted for the first time, the highest level of our country's legal body must set a precedent.
After disagreement in the lower levels of the legal system, the high court was forced to rule on the issue of elongated prison sentences in order to put prisoners into rehab, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Alejandra Tapia's extended sentence was the subject of the lawsuit, as she had received a 51-month sentence so that she would qualify for a drug treatment program. The Supreme Court ruled that this type of sentencing was in direct violation with U.S. law, the news source reported.
The judges voted unanimously in favor of the verdict, even though it was acknowledged that certain people may benefit from the extra time behind bars, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Justice A. Alito Jr. and his colleagues cited the federal sentencing act, noting that the law prohibits using imprisonment as a means of promoting correction and rehabilitation, the newspaper reported.