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Purposes of Criminal Sentencing - Essay Example

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RUNNING HEAD: PURPOSES OF CRIMINAL SENTENCING Purposes of Criminal Sentencing School Date Purposes of Criminal Sentencing Introduction Commission of criminal acts and offenses entails penal sanctions. The general reasons for punishing a person are the following: a) the perpetrator deserves the punishment, b) the punishment will hinder him or her from committing other crimes, c) it informs the victim that society does not approve of the harm he or she has endured, d) the penalty will discourage others from committing the same act, d) it protects society from criminal elements, e) it gives a chance for the convict to amend the harm done, and f) it guarantees that members of society…
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Download file to see previous pages Moral philosophers take into consideration the goals of punishment, the values promoted, and its purpose (Purpose of, 2004). While sociologists are concerned with “what punishment is actually intended for, and the nature of penal systems” (Hudson, 1996, as cited in Purpose of, 2004, p. 105), criminologists concentrate on the penalties for offenses and the policy measures pertinent to the punishment (Purpose of, 2004). Previous penal theories leaned more on retribution that put the moral blame on the offender without regard to future reformation of conduct of the offender (Hudson 1996, as cited in Purpose of, 2004). While punishment may be to prevent crime to some and to punish for others (Hudson, 1963, as cited in Purpose of, 2004), the court balances these factors in imposing a punishment (Purpose of, 2004). ...
Although the present system in the US has shifted to reformation of the convict, the justification for sanction based on vengeance still remains (Barnes, 1999). The incarcerated convict can also be deterred from the commission of the same act or any other crime if rehabilitated or incapacitated (Barnes, 1999). The two primary theories that dominate criminal punishment are utilitarianism and retribution (Purpose of, 2004). Utilitarianism expounds that laws should provide maximum happiness for society, and since crime and punishment are not consistent with happiness, they should be placed at the minimum level (Punishment, 2011). Thus, under this theory, the infliction of punishment is only that which can prevent commission of crimes in the future (Punishment, 2011). The traditional model in criminal theory is that of deterrence, which is considered a sub-category (Barnes, 1999) or a derivative (Purpose of, 2004) of the utilitarian theory. According to the utilitarian view, punishment is justifiable if it promotes the interest of society, and maintains social order (Rawls, 1955, as cited in Barnes, 1999). The concept of deterrence posits that apprehension and punishment of a criminal informs society that an act is punishable, and thus deters members of society from committing it (Barnes, 1999). General deterrence focuses on the total criminal behavior, as opposed to specific deterrence which targets individual criminals (Barnes, 1999). As a general deterrent, there must be an existing crime and punishment in order to deter others from committing the same (Barnes, 1999). This follows the view that a threat of being punished would deter individuals ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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