Legal Issues in Criminal Justice

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Critical Legal Issues in Criminal Justice
CJ500 Unit 9 Project
Brenda Colbert

September 26, 2011

When it comes to the criminal process, it typically ends when a defendant is found not guilty. However, in retrospect, it does not end whenever a defendant is found guilty, and that is for three primary reasons: 1) the accused must be sentenced; 2) the accused can and often does appeal their conviction; and 3) in the event that the accused’s appeal fails to succeed, the U.S. Constitution provides for them the right to habeas corpus, which is a method of challenging the constitutionality of one’s confinement (Worrall, 2010). However, for the basis of this article, the focus will be placed on issues relating to generalized sentencing as well as the impact of the controversial subject of sentencing guidelines.

When it comes to generalized sentences, regardless of the length of time imposed, all are considered to be goal oriented, which means they have a specific goal to be had when being handed down to an offending party. All in all, there are four primary goals of sentencing: * Rehabilitation/Reformation: Rehabilitation is a goal of sentencing that consists of a planned intervention intended to change behavior (i.e.; drug treatment); it is based upon the premise that by changing the behavior of an offender they may be “molded” back into a contributing member of society (Worrall, 2010) . Reformation is based somewhat on the same premise with the difference being that the behavior of an offender may be changed if through the stigma of shame associated with punishment they are able to come to “see the error of their ways (Renter, 2008).” * Retribution: Retribution is a goal of sentencing that is concerned with punishing offenders based upon the severity of their crimes (i.e., offenders “get what they deserve”) (Worrall, 2010). * Incapacitation: The aim of this goal of sentencing is to remove a criminal from society, so that they may not be given the...
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