The Effects of Punishment and Sentencing

Topics: Crime, Criminology, Criminal law Pages: 1 (360 words) Published: October 19, 2008
The four fundamental philosophies surrounding the purpose of sentencing are retribution, deterrence, Incapacitation, and Rehabilitation. Retribution is the belief that those who commit criminal acts should be punished according to the seriousness of the crime and that no other circumstances are considered. It relies on the principle of just deserts, which holds that the severity of the punishment must be in proportion of the severity of the crime. Deterrence is the thought that if the punishment given is severe enough that it will stop the potential criminal from committing the crime or to be a repeat offender, so rather than seeking only to punish the offender this strategy is to try to sentence to prevent future crimes along with incapacitation and rehabilitation. Incapacitation is the third philosophy that is a belief that if the criminal is detained for a crime, thereby being separated from the community reduces the criminal activity and once released will not be as likely to be a repeat offender. Rehabilitation is the fourth and final philosophy that surrounds the purpose of sentencing, some believe that society is best served when those who break the law are not simply punished but are provided with resources needed to eliminate the need or want to engage in criminal behavior activity. There are three steps to help determining sentencing. When public opinions move toward more severe strategies of retribution, deterrence, and incapacitation, legislatures have responded by asserting their power of over determining sentencing guidelines. The Legislature passes sentencing Laws; this specifies the terms of indeterminate sentencing. An Indeterminate term of incarceration is in which a judge determines the minimum and maximum terms of imprisonment. Only a jury can hand down the decision of the death penalty. When the minimum term is reached the prisoner becomes eligible to be paroled. Then there is determinate sentencing, this is a period of incarceration that is...
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