A sentence is a decree of a punishment assigned to a defendant who was found guilty by a court, or fixed by law for a particular offence.
If is a defendant found guilty, the type and amount of the sentence will depend on a number of factors, which every judge or magistrate must consider. Between these factors belong the six main aims of sentencing (retribution, denunciation, incapacitation or protection of the public, deterrence, rehabilitation and reparation), the age of the defendant (as there are available different types of sentences for young offenders), previous convictions (if the defendant has committed a crime before), the seriousness and nature of the crime committed (what has the defendant done and how serious the crime was), also the medical report would be important where doctors indicate mental health or possible addictions of the offender. The probation service can produce a pre-sentence report, which contains suitability of the offender for community order. Additionally, the court will consider aggravating factors which could increase the sentence such as a weapon used in the crime, hate crime, child rape, if the defendant was on the bail at the time the crime was committed etc. There are also mitigating factors which must be considered by the court and these could decrease the sentence up to 1/3. These could take a place when the defendant plead guilty, showed the remorse or had a good reason why the crime was committed. Also important for the court is to know the maximum sentence which can be given to the offender for the crime committed.
When the court considered all the factors, can now set the type and amount of the sentence. In the English Legal System are many different types of sentences passed, which may be often used as a support for the different aims of sentencing. There are four main types of sentences available and these are custodial sentences, community orders, fines and discharges.
Custodial sentences or prison sentences are available for offenders aged 21 years old and above. This is the most serious and harshest form of the punishment, ranged from a “weekend” prison to life imprisonment. When the court passed the sentence, prisoners do not have to serve the whole length of the sentence, but on good behaviour they can be released after serving half of the sentence given by the court. Custodial sentences would support the aims of retribution and incapacitation.
Retribution is based on the concept that the punishment should fit the crime or every crime demand payment in the form of punishment, simply said “eye for an eye and tooth for tooth” or “life for life”. It is basically the revenge on behalf of the state. Retribution is usually provided through imprisonment, but in some cases a tariff fine could be given. The sentencing council created tariffs as a guideline for the court where is included a minimum length of sentence for particular offence committed, e.g. seven years imprisonment...