The Purpose of Sentencing

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The purpose of sentencing: the “deserved infliction of suffering on evildoers and “the prevention of crime.” There four fundamental philosophies surrounding the purpose of sentencing. First, the oldest and most common is retribution. Retribution is the philosophy that those who commit criminal acts should be punished based on the severity of the crime and that no other factors need be considered. The second philosophy is deterrence. In deterrence, the goal of sentencing is to prevent future crimes. Deterrence takes a general and specific form. General deterrence is that by punishing one person, others will be dissuaded from committing a similar crime. Specific deterrence assumes thart an individual, after being punished once for a certain act, will be less likely to repeat that act because he or she does not want to be punished again. The third philosophy is incapacitation. Incapacitation is a strategy for preventing crime by detaining wrongdoers in prison, thereby separating them from the community and reducing criminal opportunities. The fourth and final philosophy surrounding the purpose of sentencing is rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is the philosophy that society is best served when wrongdoers are not simply punished, but provided the resources needed to eliminate criminality from their behavioral patterns.

There are several factors that go into the determination of each specific sentencing. An indeterminate sentencing is a term of incarceration in which a judge determines the minimum and maximum terms of imprisonment. When the minimum term is reached, the prisoner becomes eligible to be paroled. A judge can prescribe a particular term, after which an administrative body known as the parole board decides at what point the offender is to be released. A prisoner is aware that he or she is eligible for parole as soon as the minimum time has been served and that good behavior can further shorten the sentence.In determinate sentencing, a period of...
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