September 30, 2013
Earlier responses to crime were to be brutal, which included torture, humiliation, mutilation, and branding. These kinds of punishments often attempted to relate the punishment to the crime, as close as possible. The first response to crime incorporated linking criminal acts to sin and developing strict punishments. Throughout the years, this thought process has changed into a more humane system. The reason for corrections to is to protect the society but also to provide rehabilitation to these individuals. Punishments for criminals now include main objectives that widely differ from the first believed aspects of punishments. Punishments now embrace objectives pertaining to deterrence, incarceration, rehabilitation, retribution and restitution. Deterrence focuses on the possible future actions of an individual instead of present criminal behavior. Deterrence is a goal that is used to avoid impending crimes from occurring. It is believed that if punishments are rendered, it would prevent that individual from committing future crimes and it would deter others from engaging in illegal behavior. When the person who committed the crime receives a punishment, it is known as specific deterrence. The idea behind specific deterrence is that the punishment would prevent any more crimes from that specific person in the future. General deterrence is where punishments are given to people committing crimes so that criminal behavior from the rest of the society would be discouraged. This theory does not always prove correct because majority of criminals feel they will not get caught. Retribution is another term for someone receiving punishment for their illegal acts, which inflicts punishment on those people who deserve it. Retribution is similar to the phrase “an eye for an eye”. Retribution is closely linked to criminal violation but also seeks to deter crime and provide rehabilitation. Retribution focuses on the crime committed, and for the society’s sake, make sure that someone is punished for the crime committed. Incarceration is holding people who violate the law in a specific area that is away from the rest of society. Corrections main goal is to protect the society and incarceration is the way to keep criminals away from everyone else. Incarceration, or incapacitation, is meant to reduce the capability of committing future crimes. Incapacitation is centered on the basis that people will continuously repeat offending behavior. Selective incapacitation is where a criminal that is viewed as a career criminal receives a longer sentence so that they are not able to commit any more crimes. Rehabilitation is used as a way to prevent further criminal activity by taking away the urge to engage in crimes. Rehabilitation is meant to take individuals back to their previous life before they began committing crimes but this is not always beneficial. Corrections aim to rehabilitate by removing the compulsion to further commit criminal behavior. Psychological counseling is offered as a rehabilitation source as well as programs that will help them avoid problems that will persuade them to commit another crime. These programs are generally used to help the inmates with making the correct decisions and leading a respectable life. Lastly is restitution. Restitution, which is the least known goal, is “repaying society or victims for the wrongs created by offenders (Seiter, 2011 pg. 33)”. In the twentieth century, chain gangs were considered a method of restitution but the principle of restoration has become more important and many criminal sentences contain the opportunity for restitution. Victims used to be forgotten when it came to criminal matters whereas they were only required to give a statement. They were not kept up-to-date with the trial and no damages were sought to be resolved until the victims’ movement. This movement became very popular in the 1980s and...
References: Encyclopedia.com. (2005). Determinate Sentencing. Retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.com.com/utility/printdocument.aspx?id=1G2:3437701383
Portman, J. (n.d). Indeterminate vs Determinate Prison Sentences Explained. Retrieved from http://www.criminaldefenseattorney.com/determinate-sentences.cfm
Seiter, R. P. (2011). Corrections: An Introduction (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Sentencing Council. (2012). Indeterminate prison sentencing. Retrieved from http://www.sentencingcouncil.judiciary.gov.uk/sentencing/indeterminate-prison-sentences.htm
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