The Aims of Sentencing

LAW02 criminal sentencing

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  • Created by: KH
  • Created on: 05-05-11 11:20

The Aims of Sentencing

Once a defendant has been found guilty by either a jury or magistrates, an appropriate sentence must be passed.

When judges or magistrates decide upon a sentence, they will look not only at what sentences are available but also what they are trying to achieve through this punishment.

There is an underlying concept that true justice requires consistency in sentencing, therefore similiar crimes committed in similar circumstances should be given similar sentences.

This is necessary in giving the public confidence in the law as well as making things fairer for all invloved.

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So what will the court consider when sentencing th

The court have a range of sentencing options available to them.

They will look at:

  • What sentences are open to them
  • What they are trying to achieve by the sentence they give
  • The type of crime committed
  • The seriousness of the offence
  • The circumstances of the offence
  • The maximum penalty available by law

Judges and magistrates have guidelines to refer to while sentencing which contain a set of traditional theories on sentencing. These theories include:

  • Retribution
  • Deterrence
  • Prevention
  • Rehabilitation
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The Purposes of Sentencing

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 sets out the purposes of sentencing for people over 18 years of age. Judges and Magistrates must consider these points when sentencing in the course of their duty:

  • The punishment of offenders
  • The reduction of crime (includign it's reduction by deterrence)
  • The reform and rehabilitiation of offenders
  • The protection of the public
  • The making of reparation by offenders to persons offended by their offences (compensation)

The above principles of sentencing follow the tradtional principles.

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 The idea that punishment is what is deserved for the defendants act.

The whole idea is based around REVENGE.

Retribution is just considered entirely with the offence that was committed and making the punishment inflicted in proportion to the crime committed.

In recent years the maximum length of a prison sentence has been increased in reaction to the publics want for retribution from these criminals.

The Demand for Retribution is seen in tabloid press for lots of offenders who come in to the public eye.

Crudest form of retribution is seen in the jewish saying - 'an eye for an eyeand a tooth for a tooth and a life for a life'.

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Deterrence can be either general or individual.

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Alastair Hutton


These are really good! Couldn't have asked for better, thanks! :) x

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