Criminal Justice Sentencing

In the criminal justice system, punishment is attached to every wrongdoing. Punishment, however, comes in several methods depending on the need of the offender and the community as well. These criminal sentencing or punishment may be done through retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, rehabilitation, and restoration. Retribution is a method of sentencing that is based on the principle that a person having violated a law should be punished. The goal of retribution is to inform the society that crime is not tolerated, but instead it is sanctioned (Vito, Maahs, and Holmes, 2006).

Significantly, retribution also aims to rebuild the social balance and social bonds which were disturbed criminal acts (Vito, Maahs, and Holmes, 2006). Another method of punishing is incapacitation. Incapacitation may be in the form of death, imprisonment and other method wherein the offender can no longer commit a crime (Vito, Maahs, and Holmes, 2006). Hence, the goal of incapacitation is to prevent the criminal from further committing a crime by locking the criminals behind bars or other facilities where liberty is limited.

This method is also essential in reducing future crimes. The third method is deterrence. Through deterrence, the state shall impose a threat on the society as a whole, with regard to the consequences of violating any of the laws or committing a crime. However, deterrence can only be effective if the citizens know and consider the laws and sanction and when the state really imposes the sanctions (Vito, Maahs, and Holmes, 2006). However, deterrence is still essential in preventing further commission of crime by possible offenders.

The fourth method is rehabilitation which is aimed at punishing, at the same time reducing the offender’s propensity of committing crime. In addition, the method aims at restoring the offender through a combination of education, treatment, and training (Shavell, 2004). This method is also essential in helping convicted criminals to be changed and to become better citizens. Furthermore, recidivism can also be prevented through rehabilitation. The last method is restoration. Restoration usually applies after a crime has been committed.

The goal of restoration is to return to the original or previous condition through a mutually agreed program. Through restoration, the fear that has been created by the criminal act will be minimized. At the same time, it reduces the risk of re-offending (Shavell). Hence, this is essential in deterring further crimes of the same offender. References Shavell, S. (2004). Functions of Economic Analysis of Law. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Vito, G. F. , Maahs, J. R. , and Holmes, R. M. (2006). Criminology: theory, research, and policy. London: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.