Detailed notes on aims of sentencing and types of sentences. 

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  • Created on: 03-02-13 17:09
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Aims of sentencing
1. the punishment of offenders
2. the reduction of crime (including its reduction by deterrence)
3. reformation and rehabilitation of offenders
4. protection
5. the making of reparation by offenders to persons affected by their offences
o This is society's revenge for the offence committed. The sentence should fit the crime
and there should be an element of blame on the part of the offender. This means that a
mentally ill person, for example, would not be punished, i.e. should not be subject to
o Individual Deterrence - is aimed at the particular offender. The aim is to deter that
particular person from offending again. Often a suspended sentence is used to deter
the individual concerned.
o General Deterrence - is aimed at discouraging others from committing that type of
offence, i.e. society as a whole.
o Deterrence (individual & general) is based on the assumption that potential future
offenders will consider the consequences of their actions. Deterrence is not concerned
so much with fairness as a harsher sentence in one case is thought to deter others from
doing the same type of crime in the future. One problem with the theory of deterrence
is that many crimes are committed in the heat of the moment so deterrence would be of
minimal effect on the offender.
o The aim here is to reform the offender and reduce the chances of them re-offending in
the future. It is widely accepted that a period of imprisonment has little rehabilitative
o The Criminal Justice Act 2003 provides for community orders to be made with
requirements attached which it is though will help in rehabilitating the offender.
o It is felt that rehabilitation is particularly important with young offenders, the hope is
to reform the behaviour of the young person and break the cycle of offending.

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Protection of the public
o The concept is that the punishment must serve a useful purpose; in this case the
offender is made incapable of re-offending. For example in some countries the hands of
thieves are cut off to prevent further stealing. Incapacitation is to protect the public
and the most common type is a prison sentence.
o The use of minimum sentences for repeat offenders is also aimed at protecting the
public.…read more

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Suspended sentences
Mandatory life
For murder its life.…read more

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These types should only be given where the offence is so serious that an
immediate custodial sentence would have been appropriate but there are
exceptional circumstances in the case.…read more

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o a conditional discharge means that the court discharges the d on the condition
that no further offence is committed during a set period of up to three years, used
when punishment is not necessary
o an absolute discharge means that no penalty is imposed.…read more

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Background of the offender
o previous convictions: if the d has committed a similar offence then he will get a
heavier sentence whereas a d with no convictions gets treated leniently
o reports: report by probation officer, if d is ill court will ask for a medical report.
These reports will decide what sentence to impose.…read more


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