Goals of Sentencing
There are five goals of sentencing: punishment, deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and restitution. Punishment, also called retribution is society’s way of getting revenge on a criminal for the harm they have caused. Retribution is society’s way of getting revenge or feeling like they got even with a criminal. In society a crime not only harms the victim of a crime, but society as well. A criminal’s injurious actions may outrage society as a whole. This creates the longing for revenge, and punishing the criminal is a way to satisfy that want. Its purpose is to punish a criminal based on a perceived need for justice. Retribution is society’s way of punishing the offender for anti-societal behavior. Punishment “is justified because it makes the offender give up money, personal freedom or comfort that is equivalent to the harm or loss done to others” (Sociological Index, 2010). Historically, punishment was immediate, often without due process, and was given little thought as to whether the punishment fit the crime. Death and exile were commonly imposed sentences. In today’s society, retribution is similar to the just deserts model of sentencing; which believes the offender deserves the punishment they get, and that punishment should fit the crime, and should be appropriate to the type and severity of the crime committed. Punishment has both favorable and unfavorable consequences. We punish our children to teach them right from wrong, because we want to raise law abiding citizens. We punish criminals to teach them what law abiding behavior is and what are criminal behaviors in our society; also, that these behaviors will not go unpunished. Punishment is the correctional goal that “emphasizes the infliction of pain or suffering” (Seiter 2008, p. 28). It is through the painful consequences of punishment that these behaviors are deterred. Punishment is necessary to deter criminal behavior, and “the presence of punishment...
References: Sociological Index, (2002). Retribution. Retrieved on December 12, 2010 from: http://sociologyindex.com/retribution.htm.
Seiter, Richard, P. (2008) Corrections, an Introduction. (2nd Ed.). Pearson Education Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Yale Law School (Undated). THE AVALON PROJECT: Documents of Law, History, and Diplomacy. The Bill of Rights. Retrieved December 14, 2010 from: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/rights1.asp.
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