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Goals of Criminal Law

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There are seven goals of sentencing including revenge, retribution, just deserts, deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation and restoration. Revenge refers to a retaliation to some kind of assault and injury. Revenge can be a type of punishment for the criminal justice system. The jury, sometimes, basis there choices on emotions, facts and evidence

It is considered revenge in some cases because the victim's looks at it that way when they feel justice has been served. Retribution is a type of sentencing involving another form of retaliation.

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Even though some believe that laws sometimes oppress the people, a society with laws would not be a society but more like a jungle because laws serve to regulate human interaction and laws enforce moral belief. The purposes of criminal law in its simplest form are to protect and serve society. Criminal law has basic functions that help protect society. Criminal law purpose in society function is to protect the basic moral of the people. In the early days in America, history during the so-called Wild West morality was a low point. Criminal without a regard for the law dominated the social norm during the cowboy era. Many townships did not have law enforcement and thus lawlessness had no buffer for crime. If control had not been restored the country in all probability would not exist today. Gleaning from his statement it is clear that when a crime is committed it does not only affect the victim but the community. When saying community this is to include family, friends, and possibly neighbors. Therefore, any time a law is broken it can affect many people. Moreover as a society, we need to have buffers to keep order or else disastrous society would be the norm. Since the law act as a buffer for lawlessness it is fair to say that it also set boundaries for law-abiding citizens. In order for criminal law to work these boundaries has to often deterrence. Deterrence is “a goal of criminal sentencing that seeks to inhibit criminal behavior through the fear of punishment.” In order to persuade people violating the law, they need to know that there will be consequences for their actions. The purpose of deterrence is not merely to punish one for a crime it also exist t to persuade other from committing the same crime. Often time when one is drive on the interstate or freeways one will see law enforcement sitting on the side of the road.

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The state appears to be leaning more towards determinate sentencing as a result of public outcry. Many individuals were frustrated at the idea of living with offenders who they assumed would remain locked up for a long time. These objectives stemmed from the frequency with which criminals were eligible for parole irrespective of whether they had served the maximum time allocated. In states such as Florida, a sentencing system that requires offenders to serve at least 85% of their sentence denoted this move towards determinate sentencing. Indeterminate sentencing seems to be the most appropriate model. It deals with the problem of overcrowding and gives offenders an incentive to reform

A person who is incarcerated under the determinate sentencing model has a 107% higher chance of committing disorderly offenses in prison than one in the indeterminate system (Miller & Bales, 2012). This is because the latter model will examine a convict’s record in prison to establish his eligibility for parole.

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In the end, it is my belief that there is a need for guidelines in regards to maintaining a consistency between the crime committed and the punishment; yet if it stands true that society is a product of individuals, then society must embrace the effort that the focus can no longer be placed on incarceration but on alternative programs and alternative sentencing in order that the needs of the offenders can be met which in turn allows society to place a positive emphasis on deterrence as well as recidivism.

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Carlsmith, K., Darley, J. & Robinson, P. (2002). Why do we punish? Deterrence and just deserts as motives for punishment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(2), 284-299.

Miller, C. & Bales, W. (2012). The impact of determinate sentencing on prisoner misconduct. Journal of Criminal Justice, 40(5), 394-403.

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