The Effects of Punishment and Sentencing

Topics: Crime, Criminal law, Penology Pages: 3 (841 words) Published: June 17, 2009
When a defendant is sentenced, there are philosophical reasons behind this sentencing. The four basic reasons are rehabilitation, deterrence, retribution, and incapacitation. Because this process is sensitive, guidelines have been made to ensure that presumptive sentences are mandatory.

Rehabilitation is considered one of the most "humane" goal of punishment. There are different ways a judge can impose a rehabilitation sentence. For example, a young woman is arrested for public drunkenness. The judge could sentence the young woman to 10 days in jail or reprimand her to a 28-day program for the alcohol charge.

The second philosophical reason for sentencing is deterrence. To deter is to encourage something through fear. In this case, if you fear losing your freedom, one is encouraged to obey the law. Deterrence not only looks for retribution but also looks to punish the defendant to a point whereas they would not have a desire to commit another crime. Deterrence can take two forms, general and specific. The general deterrence punishes the criminal, dissuading them from committing the same crime.

The specific deterrence expects that a harsh sentencing will prevent the offender from committing any future activity. There are some questions regarding general deterrence. Because it assumes that, a person will commit a crime after rationalizing the pros and cons. This theory proves to be false with adolescences.

Incapacitation is another amongst the four philosophies. This form of punishment is not interested in providing resources to eliminate criminal activity. This form wants to incarcerate the defendant and keep them that way for as long as possible. This is one way to ensure that the defendant is not committing any crimes. However, studies have shown that once released, an offender is more likely to commit a crime than before they were incarcerated.

Finally yet importantly is retribution. This philosophy states that if a person commits a crime than he...

References: aveny, C. (Feb 15, 2008)." Justice or vengeance: is the death penalty cruel & unusual? (Columnist) (Essay)." Commonweal. 135.3 9(1). Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Retrieved April 27, 2009, from Apollo library http://galegroup.comNuechterlein, J. (2000). "Capital Punishment Deserves Caution Support" Current Controversies: Capital Punishment. Greenhaven press. Opposing Viewpoints Center. Retrieved April 27, 2009 from Apollo library http://galegroup.com
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