Sentencing Criminals

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Sentencing is an important aspect in the criminal justice process. It is the punishment defendants receive when they are convicted of a crime. The punishment spectrum is wide and vast, ranging from probation to death. Punishment and sentencing present some of the most complex issues of the criminal justice system. There are four main philosophical reasons surrounding the purpose of sentencing; they are retribution, deterrence, incapacitation and rehabilitation. Retribution is the philosophy that a criminal's punishment shall be determined on the severity of the crime he or she committed. It should be noted that retribution is not the same thing as revenge and that the punishment does not satisfy the revenge theory to anyone who may have been a victim. The retribution philosophy also is inspired by the Old Testament, where it states "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." Deterrence philosophy has two parts to it, which are the general and specific deterrence. The Deterrence philosophy is based on the fact that a criminal will realize the punishment outweighs the crime that he or she is going to commit. This philosophy hopes to prevent the criminal from going through with the criminal act. The general deterrence works this way, if the punishment is seen to outweigh the crime then others will be deterred from committing the same crime. The specific deterrence is based on the theory that a criminal, once punished and released, will not want to commit another crime and receive the same punishment. The Incapacitation philosophy believes by incarcerating criminals, this takes away the criminals liberty by placing them in jail or prison; this will ultimately keep the criminal from committing further crimes among society and reduce further criminal opportunity. Rehabilitation is another means of trying to reduce criminal activity. Rehabilitation will teach a person not to commit further criminal acts. This philosophy believes that the public is...
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