The Impact of Sentencing Guidelines - Essay Example

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The Impact of Sentencing Guidelines Institution Affiliation: Date: There has been an increased growth and use of sentencing guidelines in the US in the last couple of years. The increased use of sentencing guidelines has triggered enormous and intensive debates in regard to their impact on the justice system of the United States…
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Download file to see previous pages Since the year 1966 when such guidelines began to be established, different forms of sentencing guidelines have come up, owing to their formulation and implementation. The last couple of years have had a significant increase in the formulation, implementation and use of these sentencing guidelines. Presumptive and voluntary sentencing guidelines have been used since the time sentencing guidelines began operation (Lubitz, 2001). This paper intensively assesses the impacts of the sentencing guidelines to the justice system and to the society at large. This is in the view point that laws are set up to regulate and control the behavior of the society prior to the rights and freedoms of individuals. In the light of sentencing guidelines, this paper will also consider the goals of sentencing, the different types of sentences, constitutional rights in the context of sentencing and the overall impact of these sentencing guidelines. Goals of Sentencing A sentence refers to a formal and legal judgment pronouncing a specific punishment imposition following a crime conviction (Barlow, 2000). Different sentences are meant to achieve different results. In this regard, the goals of sentencing may vary from time to time. However, there are basic goals that sentencing is purposed to achieve. Deterrence is one of the goals of sentencing. In this case, people are afraid to commit crime in order to avoid punishments that have been experienced by those who have committed crime. They therefore refrain from crime (Siegel, 2005). Deterrence can be both general and specific. The aforementioned is a general case. A specific case involves an act of not committing crime as a result of a punishment previously suffered. Sentencing is also tailored towards rehabilitating offenders. The basic underlying principle is to reform the convict. In rehabilitation, a crime has already been committed and a sentence passed. The aim of the sentence is to promote a conscience, and this goal has led to an intensive sentencing guidelines structuring (Siegel, 2005). Rehabilitation strives to change the behavior of offenders. In this regard, as much as it regarded a punishment, the sentencing guidelines aims at promoting uniform sentencing for similar incidents of injustice against an individual, community or the society at large. Retribution is another goal of sentencing. In this case, punishment is imposed on offenders given the crime that each offender commits. The offender is linked to the crime committed, making it legal for an offender to deserve the punishment imposed prior to the crime committed. Offenders convicted of the same crime are treated equally (Barlow, 2000). Sentencing also seeks to achieve incapacitation. Incapacitation is defined as the punishment that reduces the chances of having a crime committed (Siegel, 2005). This goal is based on the idea that offenders convicted of various crimes are locked up in prisons. These prisoners are not bound to commit any crime in the outside society since their movement and actions are restricted, monitored and controlled. Types of Sentences Different types of sentences are imposed to offenders depending on the magnitude of the crime committed, rights and freedoms violated and the effect of such crimes to the society, economy and the state at large. These sentences vary and a number of them include: Life ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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