Mandatory Sentence

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  • Topic: Mandatory sentencing, Crime, Judicial discretion
  • Pages : 5 (1651 words )
  • Download(s) : 161
  • Published : April 25, 2011
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Mandatory Sentencing

Introduction
Mandatory testing refers to a special case of a court decision where by the judicial discretion is limited by the law. It is common knowledge that when people are convicted with crime they are punished by being sent to prison for a number of years. All the individuals who commit crime will be punished equally under a pre-determined minimum time in prison. The respective laws which guide mandatory sentencing differ from one country to another. The parliament passes laws specifying a minimum amount of sentencing that may be given by the judge. It can also be described as a situation where the judge has no legal powers to sentence and can therefore only rely on a set mandatory sentence, (Scheb, 2008). It follows that mandatory sentencing has both negative and positive sides thus the pros and cons that are yet to be discussed. Pros of mandatory sentencing

Scheb (2008) reveals that mandatory sentencing is an effective tool for preventing repetitive offences since it acts to deter future crimes. Potential criminals are aware of the type of sentence that they are likely to face and therefore will try as much as possible to keep away or rather avoid committing the offence. The fear of being caught also contributes to an individual avoiding to commit an offence. A strong and clear message that heinous offenses will not be tolerated is usually portrayed. The idea of putting in place a legal system that is harsh ensures that the vital element of democratic faith in the respective judicial system, (Robertson, 2002). By extension, the idea that relatively minor offenses will be easily reported is restored. Mandatory sentencing is associated with an acceptable degree of consistency thus faith in the judicial system. In addition to consistency, mandatory sentencing may introduce aspects of transparency, predictability and accountability of judges relating to their decisions. The fact that juries are not aware of the defendant’s previous offenses will not have an inclination on the rulings. Robertson (2002) argues that the effect of mandatory sentence counters the possibility of judicial discretion. Judicial discretion is eliminated and the situation is such that it gets tough on crime and eliminates chances of bias by the judge. The punishment is expected to coincide with the crime. Mandatory sentencing has the capability of considering repeat offences which show serious criminal risk. Upon implementation of mandatory restorative sentencing, countries across the world have enjoyed for instance reduced levels of burglary since the criminals became more remorseful and the victims felt appeased. Bryjak and Barkan (2010) argue that mandatory sentencing has the capacity of freeing up bottlenecks in the judicial system. This can be done by doing away with the dire need for long and therefore expensive pre-sentencing reports. The eventuality of this development is acceptable increased efficiency and reliability of the judicial system, (Scheb, 2008). The sentences have the capacity to lock up dangerous offenders for long periods. This initiative works to incapacitate the respective offender and also enhance general public safety now that they will be restricted in the prisons. These sentences have been proved to be significant for instance in drug cases where the main objective is to completely do away with the drug trafficking industry from the society, (Bryjak and Barkan, 2010). When comparing two scenarios of drug trafficking and a bank robbery, the later will present a teller as the critical witness unlike in drug trafficking where the drug users and/or other drug trafficker will serve as witnesses in that particular case. Truthful testimony can pave way for relief from a mandatory sentence thus allowing the state or government to move swiftly through the complex chain of supply. In this case the low level distributors are used to catch up with the more serious dealers and finally the...
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