Sentencing Aims

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Criminal Justice Act 2003

  • S142
  • Purposes of sentencing 18 and overs
    • Punishment - Retribution
    • Reduction of Crime (including deterrence)
    • Reform and rehabilitation
    • Protection of the public
    • Making of reparation
  • Courts have to think about these aims

When working out where sentence lies in tariff the court take into account mitigating and aggravating factors

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  • Also a purpose
  • Expressing society's disapproval 
  • Reinforcing moral boundaries of acceptable behaviour
    • Moulding society's attitudes e.g. drink driving, using phones whilst driving, smoking with children in the car
  • Reinforcing values society currently has
  • Trying to shape attitudes in society
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Punishment (AKA Retribution)

  • Offender deserves punishment
  • Kant (German Philosopher 18/19th cent) 'Judicial punishment can never be used merely as a means to promote some other good for the criminal himself or for civil society, but instead in all cases it must be imposed on him only on the ground that he has committed a crime'
  • Punishment must fit the crime
    • Sometimes conflicts if the aim of the sentence is to rehabilitate
      • With rehabilitation you may sometimes look at the circumstances of the offender not the crime and give them a shorter sentence
      • Mitigating factors can reduce the sentence
  • Jurisidiction for the death penalty
  • Tariff sentences set by the Sentencing Guidelines Council
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  • Reduce future levels of crime
    • Because punishment is horrible it puts them off committing crime
  • Individual deterrence
    • Aimed at a particular offender to put him/her off re- offending by either a very severe sentence eg custodial sentence or a fine, or by the threat of imprisonment eg a suspended sentence or conditional discharge 
  • General deterrence
    • Put society off committing crimes by exemplary sentences or minimum sentences not concerned with fairness and may be harsher than the usual tariff for the offence so can lead to injustice in particular case eg very severe sentences for the theft of mobile phones on the street. 
  • Could be used for crimes relating to:
    • drugs
    • drink driving\football hooliganism
    • mugging
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Individual deterrence

  • Typical penalties
    • Prison sentence
    • Suspended sentence
    • Heavy fine
  • Prison is not very effective
    • 55% of adult offenders and over 70% of young offenders re-offend within in 2 years
  • Based on assumption that offender will consider consequences
    • BUT most crimes are spur of the momentand/or under influence of drink/drugs
  • Higher rates of detection are a better deterrent (fear)
    • Use of CCT-District Line
      • On London's District line of underground system there was an 83% reduction in crime in 1st full year that survelliance cameras were used
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General deterrence

  • Least effective and least fair principle
  • Conflicts with retribution with retribution because it means punishing people harshly so the sentence is too harsh to fit the crime
  • Heavier penalty than normal
  • Relies on publicity
  • May not know severity of punishment so don't fully understand consequences of crime so commit it anyway
    • Don't read news, not live in country etc.
      • Paradox-used to deter drug smuggling
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  • Forward looking
    • Re-integrate offender into society
  • More popular from 2nd half of 20th century
  • Community orders are most common
  • Development oc community sentences
  • Drug testing and treatment orders
  • Most appropriate aim used when sentencing young offenders
  • Pre-sentence reports
  • Individualised sentence-contrast with tariff sentences
    • Inconsistency with sentencing
  • May discriminate against those from less privileged backgrounds
    • Very unfair
    • More support from better backgrounds
    • Less likely to be seen as possib;e candidates for reform
  • Court given info about D through pre-sentence report prepared by probation service
    • school reports, job prospects or medical problems
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Protection of the Public

  • Dangerous offenders-life sentences
  • CJA 2003
    • Extended sentences-extra period during which offender free on licence
      • When committed serious, violent or sexual crime
      • Part of sentence in prison; part on licence in community
      • Re-integrate them into the public but still keeping them under supervision
    • Driving disqualification
    • Curfew order/electronic tagging
    • Exclusion order R v Einkler (2004)
      • D commited an affray in Manchester at a football match which Oldham Athletic were playing. D was banned from going to Oldham town centre on home match days and from approaching any football stadium within 1/2 mile for 6 years
  • CJA 2003
    • Where court is of opinion that there's a significant risk to members of public of serious harm being caused by D in future
    • D must be sent to prison
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  • Compensation to the victim
  • Courts required to consider compensation
    • S130 Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000- Courts must give reasons if they do not make an order.
  • Direct reparation projects
    • Bring victim and offender together if victim is happy to do this
      • Often used for burgulary and theft
  • Unpaid work requirement
    • problem=finding projects and people to supervise them is very difficult
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