The Effects of Punishment and Sentencing

Topics: Crime, Death Penalty, Prison Pages: 4 (1126 words) Published: October 27, 2008
The role of sentencing plays an integral part in the criminal justice system process because it is how criminals are punished. And by punishing the criminals sentencing serves two ultimate purposes. Those purposes are: “deserved infliction of suffering on evildoers” and “the prevention of crime” (Professor Herbert Packer, 2006 Criminal Justice in Action: The Core). Sentencing effects society today because if there were no sentencing in the criminal justice system, then all of the criminals would be roaming free and that would make the world even worse than it is already.

In the purpose of sentencing, there are four fundamental philosophies. Those are retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. Retribution is the philosophy that people who commit crimes should be punished based on the severity of the crime and that other factors need to be considered. Retribution relies on the principle of just desert which hold the severity of the punishment must be in proportion of the severity of the actual crime. The next philosophy is deterrence. This is a strategy of preventing crime through the threat of punishment. By setting an example, this is sending a message to potential criminals that certain actions will not be tolerated. 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. John Q. Wilson uses a blunt statement to summarize the justification for incapacitation. “Wicked people exist. Nothing avails except to set them apart from innocent people” (Thinking about Crime 1975). The last of the philosophies 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 different factors that go into the determination of specific sentences....
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