By: Brian Ouellette
Mr. Leonardo Cadogan
In the United States there is no standard when it comes to punishment and sentencing. This area of the criminal justice system is in a constant state of change. Sentencing practices and goals are always being closely examined. From "getting tough on crime" to more rehabilitative approaches, the views and goals of sentencing are always being corrected.
Since time began, there was crime and with crime came the need to punish criminals. How criminals were punished and the methods behind the punishment changed throughout the times. Standards of punishment moved from banishment and fines to torture and “blood feuds” (Siegel & Senna, 2005). A more organized system of punishment came with the formation of Common Law, which was brought over to the United States from England. With the development of a system, there was a move away from physical punishment toward methods more acceptably used today in the United States. Today there are many things the criminal justice system plans to do by introducing punishments and sentences. Goals of punishment have moved from satisfying the victim, as in early days, to more of a broad scale. There are theories on how punishment and sentencing may serve to reduce crime as a whole. General and specific deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution, and restoration are just some of these goals. According to Barlow, general deterrence is the idea that, "people refrain from crime because they fear the punishment that others have received" (2000). This means that one might be deterred from committing a crime if he or she knows it carries a harsh punishment. This points out that many criminals do not take the time to consider punishment. Many of them do not believe they will be the one to get caught. Also, general deterrence
References: Schmalleger, Frank (2012) Criminal justice: A brief introduction 9th edition Barlow, H.D. (2000). Criminal justice in America Lubitz, R.L., & Ross, T.W. (2001, June). Sentencing guidelines: Reflections on the Future Siegel, L.J., & Senna, J.J. (2005). Introduction to criminal justice: 10th edition Tonry, M. (1999, September). Reconsidering indeterminate and structured sentencing