FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY - the ROLE of CUSTODIAL SENTENCING

custodial sentencing for offending - forensic psychology

a2 psychology unit 3

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The Role of Custodial Sentencing
From a behaviourist viewpoint, punishment consists of administering an unpleasant stimulus to an
individual when they produced an undesirable behaviour, in order to decrease the likelihood of the
behaviour being repeated. Ultimately, punishment aims to stop certain types of behaviour occurring
or to prevent it from reoccurring in the future. Over the centuries, people have devised numerous
methods of punishing criminals.
Custodial sentences:
Prison
Young offender institution
1. Deterrence
An unpleasant experience (or the threat of one) serves to prevent the behaviour in the
future
Individuals are made to dwell on their crime, plus others will hopefully be deterred
2. Reform
The experience of punishment leads the offender to becoming a `changed' individual
This method is far less punitive than other methods
3. Incapacitation
The punishment serves to (temporarily) prevent the criminal form committing further crimes
by, for example, prison or removing a driving licence
The ultimate form of incapacitation is capital punishment ­ the chances of re-offending are
dramatically reduced
4. Retribution
Here, society exacts a kind of revenge upon the offender that is considered proportional to
the crime

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