Introduction. A. Diversity in contemporary society impedes consensus on the purpose of punishment. 1. Ideally, victims, citizens, and justice system actors, and even offenders would agree on the purpose of punishment. 2. In the reality of diversity, agreement seldom occurs. a. Victims want “pay-back.” b. Law enforcement wants the offender off the street. c. Judges, seeking to reduce institutional incarcerations, want to use community-based sanctions. d. Probation officers question the sentence of probation without the imposition of mandatory drug treatment as a condition of probation. e. Offenders don’t know if they’re being punished to teach them a lesson, to prevent commission of additional crimes, to encourage reform, or simply because their actions deserve to be punished. 7 B. Some suggest that different reasons for punishment might be appropriate given the differences in the characteristics of offenders (e.g., first offense vs. repeat offender).
Deterrence: -attempt to prevent future offenses by the offender and others Specific: -offender is rational, pleasure-seeking, pain avoiding-free will -pain outweighs pleasure -?--certainty/severity/swiftness -certain (get away with it) -severe-how severe 8 th amendment -swift-not possible (appeals) -resetting-gamblers lost five hands in a row-odds now in favor General: -stop crime before occurs -stores at Christmas-prosecute offenders -DUI checkpoints -publicity -
Incapacitation: -restrict freedom=reduce ability to commit crime -historically-prison -contemporary: electronic monitoring/surgery -the concept of incapacitation appealed to legislators throughout the 9180’s & 90’s-more prisons and greater sentences Selective: -reserved for most dangerous/repeat offenders -protect society General: -large gains in crime prevention -even minor felons -open to discrimination
Incapacitation through technology has been around for some time. In 1921 the Supreme Court ruled that involuntary castrations were unconstitutional. -voluntary castrations: 2004 ymca counselor who had molested > 40 boys underwent surgery. -still new-Europe-castrations for decades: 2% re-offender rate versus 50% for non-castration Chemical: -two chemicals reduce sex drive/testosterone levels -used with counseling -27% re-offender rates versus 50% w/o Incapacitation through electronics: -ankle bracelets/ignition tubes for DUI -stay at home/work but restrict movement/prevent unwanted behavior
The concept that rehabilitation restores someone to good health as a citizen is one that people cannot accept as a form of or justification for punishment. reclamation: -an early concept of rehabilitation the goal was to rescue wrongdoers from the evil that had overcome them. -Reclaim or brought back to correct ways of living. Based on morality so religion played big part. -promote human welfare by eliminating pain/suffering=imprisonment replaced corporal punishment
In the reformation stage of rehabilitation the concept was that the offender must change in specific ways in order to take on new form “reformed”. Society would provide in a humane setting opportunities for education, vocation and religion but the offender had to choose which path would help facilitate the change. This is offender based. The iron law of imprisonment is that, except in a small number of cases, the average inmate will be released into society someday. Communities want to know that the person living next door is a responsible member of society and is prepared to live amongst the populace in peace. This has resulted in an increased awareness for the need for rehabilitation prior to reentry.
The concept of retribution is that the wrongful act deserves a penalty that is as sever as the wrongful act itself. In it’s crude form retribution is revenge such as was exhibited by feuds between families or individuals. It also took the form of mutilations, and corporal punishment Formal penal sanction: imposed only when a violation of law has occurred. B. Equity: similar crimes and criminals should receive similar sentences. Not one sentence for rich/poor, black/white ,etc. Just deserts: Punishment needs to be proportional to the crime and to the criminal. Retributionists are not concerned with any need to rehabilitate offenders, deter others from committing crime or protecting society while offenders are in prison. They are simply interested in punishing violators of the law. Any crime prevention that does occur from this concept is a secondary effect and not the intentional goal.
Retributionists hold that each individual is a rational person who chooses to commit crimes and that society must reciprocate by punishing the offender-not to deter or rehabilitate but simply to punish. One difficult thing is the ability to match proportionate sentences to the crimes committed. If your car is stolen you would most likely feel that life imprisonment would be a proportionate sentence. In the old west horse thieves were hanged. Most legislatures have outlined the severity of crimes by listing them as class felonies A-d or 1-4. The reference to the Bible of a life for a life, eye for eye, tooth for a tooth, hand for a hand foot for a foot, burning for a burning, wound for a wound, stripe for a stripe. Major problem in this concept is the talion-equivalence of crime and its punishment.
Restoration is the fourth focus is victim based. It has been argued that the 21 st Century will see an increase in the restorative form of punishment. The impact of crimes on victims and society is taking precedence over the past forms that focus on the offender. The goal behind this concept is to make the victim and society “whole” again after the crime. a. Restorative practices in sentencing: victim