The Goals of Criminal Sentencing Essay

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The Goals of Criminal Sentencing By Tyler Dunivan-Scott Since the beginning of time, there has been crime and with crime came the need to punish criminals. Crimes and their respective punishments have changed throughout the times. In earlier times, standards of punishment included torture, banishment, branding, and whipping. It was thought that the stronger the punishment was, the less likely the person would be to repeat the offense. There are five objectives that are widely accepted for enforcement of the criminal law by punishments: deterrence, retribution, incapacitation, rehabilitation and restitution. Deterring future crime is one goal of criminal sentencing. The idea is that pain inflicted by punishment is justifiable if, but only if, it is expected to result in a reduction in the pain of crime that would otherwise occur. In deterrence, the goal of sentencing is to prevent future crimes. Deterrence takes a general and specific form. With general deterrence, a person is punished in order to convince the general community to avoid criminal conduct in the future. The criminal is used as a means to reduce crime through the example that has been made of him. The individual criminal’s punishment teaches us what conduct is not allowed. It also instills fear of punishment in would-be violators of the law. Unfortunately people believe that punishments should not be too harsh or disproportionate because they believe that if criminals believed that they have nothing to lose, that their crimes might escalate if frequency and severity. I disagree with this sentiment. Punishment should be swift and it should be just and it should be harsh, especially for capital offenses. Specific deterrence assumes that an individual, after being punished once for a certain act, will be less likely to repeat that act because he or she does not want to be

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