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Sentencing Philosophies in Crime Essay

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Updated: Sep 11th, 2022


It is remarkable to note that sentencing involves punishing offenders according to the crime committed. There are different ways to come up with a suitable sentence in relation to offences. Evidently, philosophers put together these speculations centuries ago. Judges still use these theories in the contemporary society. Five major objectives of sentencing incorporate “retribution, rehabilitation, incapacitation, deterrence, and denunciation” (Champion, 2008).


Rehabilitation reforms wrongdoers by making them change their behavior in future. Apparently, rehabilitating benefits the community and the offenders. An example of rehabilitation as a mode of sentencing incorporates the conditional sentence, which is a jail sentence that makes one serve the community. Rehabilitation presumes that the causes that drive the offenders to commit crime are evident. Thus, treatment prevents criminals from engaging in crime in the future (Champion, 2008).


Incapacitation is a form punishment that makes an offender inept of committing crime. This protects the society when the criminal commits grave offence in the prospect. This sentencing is relevant to those corporations that have pitiable proceedings of conformity with law or shared entities operating exclusively for criminal purposes. An example of a sentence after conviction under incapacitation encompasses stopping a company from engaging in business by withdrawing its permit. Locking up offenders in prisons also lessens the likelihood of committing a similar crime again (Bagaric, 2001).


Deterrence contains two aspects including pacific deterrence, which focuses on persuading the offenders against committing crime. Additionally, general deterrence seeks to discourage others who have been conscious of the penalty imposed upon the lawbreaker from committing crime. The sole reason for punishment is to care for the community by making it comprehensible to the offender and others that if they breach the law they will face sentencing. For example, an employer availing job opening to a huge proportion of underage persons attracts punishment, which will eventually deter others from advancing such a crime. This objective of sentencing uses punishment as a threat for people who resort to unlawful activities (Bagaric, 2001).


Retribution is the perception that the guilt is addressed through punishment. Punishment is proportional to the brutality of the offense committed. That makes it difficult to know how severe the crime is in relation to the sentence. For example, they should not kill thieves, but when they kill murders, then that is retribution (Champion, 2008).


This is a form of sentencing, which accentuates the significance of compensation and resolution, between victims and criminal. It pays minimal attention to establish proportionality amid seriousness of the transgression and the sentence imposed. It attends to the needs of criminal, together with affected society. The victims partake actively in the procedure while the criminal pay for their actions. An example of restoration is making an offender to apologize or return the stolen property (Schamallenger, 2010).

Most Valid philosophy today

The objectives of sentencing are to protect society. Thus, while persons cannot be sure that chastisement will entirely avert illicit behaviors, it is apparent that the objective of depicting offenders unable to commit offenses is viable. Therefore, incapacitation plays a prominent role in sentencing policy, and most recently have served as justifiable for hybrid sentencing (Melton, Petrila & Poythress, 2007).


Sentences attain their objectives in many ways. Nevertheless, it will depend on the government and its guiding principles, to make decisions on sentencing that is appropriate when judging the offenders. The notable sentencing tactics, which appears most significant for dealing with perpetrators of diverse offenses, entail incapacitation. This tactic diminishes criminals’ opportunities that entail advancing crime in future.


Bagaric, M. (2001). Punishment and Suffering. London: Routledge.

Champion, J. (2008). Sentencing: a reference handbook. California, Ca: ABC-CLIO.

Melton, B., Petrila, J. & Poythress, G. (2007). Psychological evaluations for the courts: a handbook for mental health. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Schamallenger, F. (2010).Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the TwentyFirst Century. New Jersey, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

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