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Evaluate The Argument That Sentencing For Certain Types Of Crime Is Increasingly Being Influenced By The Principles Of 'retribution' And 'deterrence'.

1572 words - 6 pages

A criminal justice system exists so that those who commit a crime are punished. Each type of crime carries a certain punishment or, 'sentence' that is supposed to fit the crime accordingly. Sentencing criminals to particular punishments is intended to deter them from committing more crimes and to serve as an example to others to put them off committing crimes of a similar nature. Other reasons for sentencing criminals is to gain a sense of retribution and to satisfy a moral sense; society likes to see criminals punished and sentencing gives the victims of crime, if any, a sense that justice has been done.Punishment is seen as the correct moral outcome of criminal activity. This is an example of classicism; where a crime is viewed as being an offence against the whole of society. When examining the issue of sentencing we need to identify the aims of punishment. When passing a sentence, the magistrates or judge will have to decide what it so be achieved by the punishment given, if the offender is considered dangerous or has committed an offence against another person, especially a violent crime, then the safety of the public has to be taken into consideration as well as the safety of the offender and the need to give out a punishment to the offender.Punishment is seen as taking revenge on the criminal, based on the idea that the wrongdoer deserves to be punished and that society will benefit from this. The purpose of retribution is to ensure that the punishment given is proportionate to the offence committed.Because there are so many different types of crime; violent, theft and sexual being just a few of the broader types, there must be several types of sentence to match; custodial and non custodial being the two main categories. A custodial sentence means that the offender, who must be aged above 21 years, is condemned to imprisonment or a suspended sentence. If the offender is younger than 21 then they are sent to a young offenders institution under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. The main types of crime that come with a custodial sentence are violent and sexual crimes, repeated or aggravated theft, and burglary. Crimes where the offender is considered to be dangerous to him or herself or other members of society, or where the offender is in danger, usually carry custodial sentences, to remove the offender from society and attempt to rehabilitate them and prevent them from committing crimes in the future.There are a range of sentences available to a judge or a magistrate and the presumption is that there is a sentence to fit every crime.Fines are one of the most minor sentences that can be given. A fine can be imposed on every offence except murder. Fines can be given out to a maximum of £5000 in a magistrate's court and for any higher amount a hearing at a crown court is required.Custodial sentences means that the offender is incarcerated for a period of time determined by a judge but this time may be lessened if the offender...

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