The Importance Of The Goals Of Sentencing Criminology Essay

The assessment and knowledge of contemporary legal justice goals of sentencing is really important if scholars are to identify the every-changing views of criminal offenses and punishment. It's quite common knowledge that criminal offenses has always existed as well as the need to punish criminals. As the standards of abuse and sentencing have changed from banishment and fines to torture and blood feuds (Senna & Siegel, 2005), it is visible by analyzing the goals of sentencing that the contemporary system of abuse is due partly to the forming of Common Law. Study of the goals of sentencing discloses that there has been an obvious shift from the once satisfactory physical abuse towards more humane sentencing options such as imprisonment, probation, parole, intermediate sanctions, indeterminate sentencing, determinate sentencing and the fatality penalty.

Keywords: Goals of Sentencing, Sentencing Options, Ideas of Sentences

In order to analyze the goals of sentencing, it is obvious that scholars will need to have access to an enormous quantity of resources which can be reliable as well as accessible. It is also important a variety of research be examined which at the very least will include retribution, incapacitation, deterrence (standard and specific), rehabilitation and repair, as well as the presence of imprisonment, probation, parole, intermediate sanctions, indeterminate sentencing, determinate sentencing and the loss of life penalty.

While today you'll find so many goals and possibilities that the contemporary legal justice system focuses on when it comes to imposing punishments and phrases, it is obvious that the goals of sentencing have altered from punishments which were once geared toward satisfying the sufferer, to broader aspects which more recently have been found to give attention to reducing recidivism. It's important to notice that by evaluating and researching the many possibilities today in regards to sentencing, it becomes noticeable that there surely is no longer a couple of policies or straight forward sentencing, and what was once a standard punishment for a particular crime is currently being changed by individualized solutions.

Literature Review

Throughout researching the unlawful justice curriculum, scholars are advised to reference point and examine the value of the goals of sentencing which include retribution, incapacitation, deterrence (basic and specific), treatment, restoration, imprisonment, probation, parole, intermediate sanctions, indeterminate sentencing, determinate sentencing and the fatality penalty.

While punishment refers to a negative response that is enforced on a person scheduled to committing an act that is established by contemporary society as being incorrect (Hugo, 2010), retribution, which is also known as a justification for consequence, includes the offender "getting what they deserve". Retribution is often viewed as the practice of the eye-for-an-eye; thus a murderer being put to loss of life for the crime of murder would be considered retribution.

Incapacitation identifies the theory that if offenders are incarcerated, additional crimes are prevented thus the perception is the fact prisons donate to the perfect solution is of crime avoidance. Research conducted by Hemmens, Kifer, & Stohr (2003) supports this theory with studies that claim that jail and prison staffs will recognize the purpose of corrections to be incapacitation.

The concentrate on deterrence is divided into two categories that are general deterrence and specific deterrence. While basic deterrence targets preventing the criminal offenses before it happens, specific deterrence concentrates on how to reduce recidivism. While examining the two principles of deterrence, Siegel (1992) discusses the importance of understanding the procedure that occurs prior to a person choosing to commit a offense by saying "before choosing to commit a offense, the reasoning criminal evaluates the risk of apprehension, the seriousness of the expected abuse, the worthiness of the unlawful enterprise, and his or her immediate need for criminal gain" (Siegel, 1992, p. 131).

Rehabilitation refers to the idea that offenders have root known reasons for committing the crime and thus the chance of recidivism can be reduced if the offender is afforded the chance to have various types of treatment including cognitive and rationale therapy, individual counselling and drug abuse organizations. Gadek (2008-2010) discusses rehabilitation versus consequence and notes the price effectiveness of treatment versus firmly incarceration.

Restorative justice is an approach that is based around the belief that offenders should be required to take responsibility and show accountability because of their activities, and the victim as well as the community affected, are repaid to some extent by offenders performing community service or paying restitution. Zehr (2002) talks about that restorative justice can take under consideration not only the victim, but considers what needs the victim and offender has and whose obligation it is to meet the identified needs.


In exploring the goals of sentencing, it is evident that as opposed to the composition of the criminal justice system of twenty years ago, contemporary criminal justice systems have no standard strategy. Although contemporary legal justice policies are still referred to as tough-on-crime plans, most jurisdictions are actually concentrating on individualized programs. It really is evident that there surely is no one solo method of sentencing an offender; yet to be able to understand the basics of crime and punishment, the goals of sentencing that happen to be retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, treatment and restoration must be analyzed.

The concept that is often used to spell it out the ethics of rules would be that the punishment should fit the crime. Individuals who agree with this theory are ever more in favor of retributive justice, which includes punishments such as an eye-for-an-eye and a hand-for-an-hand. Regarding to Cavadino & Dignan (1997), advocates who support retributive justice advocate that punishment is strictly utilized to punish offenders according to the severeness of the crime determined. Maiese (2004) advocates that "retributive justice is a subject of offering those who violate individual rights rules and commit offences against mankind their "just deserts" (p. 2).

While retributive justice provides to demand that the abuse fit the criminal offenses, research suggest that there are negative sides to enforcing the idea of retributive justice. Maiese (2004) discusses that when punishment is solely based on the degree of the criminal offense committed, it is simple to place emphasis on revenge versus retributive justice. Maiese (2004) expresses "like retribution, revenge is a reply to wrongs committed against innocent victims and reflects the proportionality of the scales of justice" (p. 2). While there are those that support tough punishments against offenders, there are practical and effective alternatives to retributive justice such as restorative justice and psychiatric imprisonment.

Restorative justice is becoming increasingly more popular as this theory focuses not only on the offender, but includes the sufferer and the communities that were influenced by the crime determined. Restorative justice places the duty on the offender to acknowledge how the criminal offenses affected the victim as well the community. It is important to note, that research has recommended that restorative justice is additionally used with property offenses as well as civil and unlawful offenses and has been considered ineffective and inappropriate to use with those convicted of medicine offenses, domestic assault and sexual assault ( ). In contrast, restorative justice is the contrary of retributive justice for the reason that "restorative justice, therefore, advocates restitution to the sufferer by the offender somewhat than retribution by the state of hawaii contrary to the offender" (Maiese, 2004, p. 1).

Restorative justice is attained by like the offender, victims and the city. That is beneficial in that this process requires all the those who were afflicted by the offense committed. Examples of restorative justice would include offense victim consciousness education for the offender and the offender being held accountable for paying restitution and carrying out community service. Hayes (2005) records that another goal and aim of restorative justice is reducing recidivism. Although there are those such as Beven (2005) that dispute that restorative justice has no relevance as related to recidivism, Hayes (2005) advocates that restorative justice not only can prevent recidivism but it can deter other potential criminals.

In examining deterrence, there are two main ideas that encompass the ideas of how to decrease recidivism as well as preventing crime entirely. The principles are standard deterrence and specific deterrence. As the standard deterrence theory advocates that folks will commit offences when there is no fear of consequence, specific deterrence focuses on punishing offenders to be able to prevent them from violating the laws that were shattered. It's important to note that it is the theory of specific deterrence that utilizes negative sanctions in order to avoid further serves of offense.

In researching the many ideas of deterrence, the question comes up concerning whether standard deterrence works well considering that this theories concentration is based on an individual's ability to determine whether or not apprehension is a certainty? Corresponding to Keel (2005), research as related to capital consequence indicated that the general deterrence theory is not effective.

Keel (2005) further records that there surely is minimum relevance when considering capital offenses in the states which utilize the death charges. This noted ineffectiveness with regards to the theories of deterrence also boosts the question as to whether incapacitation is an appropriate sentencing option.

Incapacitation targets the belief that in order to ensure open public safety, that it's satisfactory and appropriate to incarcerate an individual not necessarily for what they did, however in order to avoid that individual from committing a offense. It is noticeable that incapacitation will depend only on the talents of the Judge, prosecuting attorney at law, general population defenders as well as neighborhood correction programs to really have the skills and education to identify those individuals that have the actual to re-offend. When evaluating the various kinds of sentencing that are utilized in modern legal justice systems, home confinement, drug judge, day reporting centers and incarceration would all appear to provide a form of incapacitating impact, while sentencing an offender to unsupervised probation, unsupervised home confinement or just sentencing the offender to pay an excellent would not exhibit an incapacitating impact. It is apparent that the best and permanent form of incapacitating an offender would be sentencing a person to the death penalty. While ultimately the purpose of sentencing is to provide general public safety also to reduce recidivism, the question occurs concerning whether it might be less expensive to incapacitate only those offenders who have committed violent offences and who've increased risk factors that could that would lead someone to believe the offender was capable of committing dangerous offences. With the value that happens to be being located on the jail overcrowding, it makes sense to advocate that more offenders should be located into home confinement or community correction programs which have the resources to provide intense supervision, to be able to make use of the prisons that are available for strictly the goal of incapacitation.

Rehabilitation versus punishment is a solid consideration when exploring the goals of sentencing. While deterrence and a decrease in recidivism will be the components that each community aims to meet, each society has a responsibility to consider treatment when enforcing sentencing.

Rehabilitation allows an offender the chance to become informed about their action and affords the offender the opportunity for change. Although rehabilitation is mostly used with juvenile offenders, it's important to notice that rehabilitation has been proven to work with the adult offender people when you examine the results that the city modification programs are confirming during the last few years. Incarceration will not offer programs or have an activity in which treatment can be wanted to offenders and the price tag on incarceration far surpasses the expenses associated with treatment. Rehabilitation also evidently satisfies the goals of restorative sentencing in that the majority of community correction based programs that exist today have requirements that members pay their restitution and perform established time of community service locally that was offended. It should also be noted that crime sufferer awareness programs have become ever more popular in community programs today which inform offenders how their actions not only impact them, but how the same actions influenced the sufferer and their families.


The goals of sentencing are important and necessary if contemporary society is to keep up order and balance. While contemporary criminal justice systems continue to be influenced by politics, research helps the idea that increasing the number of offenders that are incarcerated may in reality look like a community is getting tough on offense, but the main issue is that this method does nothing for lowering recidivism; thus in place, as long as population views incarceration as the choice for consequence, societies will continue to donate to the more and more high prison cost as well as contributing negatively to recidivism rates.

There are numerous sentencing possibilities today that clearly satisfy incapacitation, deterrence, retribution, treatment and restoration. Probation, parole, home confinement, day reporting centers, and medication court are feasible options for offenders who are non-violent and cause no risk to society. Treatment offers not just a way to meet deterrence, restoration and retribution but it can also donate to incapacitation in that offenders can be judge purchased to locked down psychiatric prisons and treatment centers. It really is my belief that there is a dependence on guidelines when it comes to maintaining a regularity between the crime committed and the consequence; yet if it stands true that contemporary society is a product of people, then society must embrace your time and effort that the target can't be put on incarceration but on different programs and alternative sentencing in order that the needs of the offenders can be satisfied which allows society to place a positive focus on deterrence as well as recidivism.

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