Criminal Sentencing

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Criminal Sentencing
By Christina Long
CRJ301: Juvenile Justice
Instructor: Agustin Pena
March 5, 2013

After a criminal is found guilty of committing an illegal offense, the next step for the individual is to be sentenced to some form of punishment according to the law. Sentencing is a punishment that determines how much jail time the convicted will receive or what punishment they will endure. Sentencing can range from jail time, to community service, to paying fines. There are four major concepts when it comes to criminal sentencing: deterrence, rehabilitation, incapacitation, and retribution.

Deterrence theory is based on the concept that if the consequences of committing a crime outweigh the benefit of the crime itself, the individual will be deterred from committing the crime. (Worrell, 2008)Deterrence is generally aimed toward a specific offender. The aim is to inflict a sufficient penalty to discourage the offender from any future behavior. General deterrence aims at society as a whole. By imposing a penalty on those who commit offenses and making an example out of them, other individuals are discouraged from committing the same offenses. For example, fewer traffic tickets would be written if minor driving violations were punishable by death. Crime rates would be drastically low if the government were to impose extreme punishments on petty offenders.

Punishment for petty crimes or misdemeanors has a more reasonable punishment such as a payment of a fine or performing community service as an alternative to a prison sentence.We live in a nation where there are laws set to keep ourselves and the public safe. We also live in a nation full of people who think they are above the law and commit crimes. Some only once others partake in criminal activity on a regular basis. Since there are those who choose to commit crimes we also have a justice system set in place that gives consequences to breaking the law and hopefully prevent others...
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