Incarceration – The Ultimate Deterrent

Incarceration – The Ultimate Deterrent

    The criminal justice system sentences individuals to various forms of punishment in order to achieve certain goals. Among these goals are retribution, incapacitation, rehabilitation and deterrence. Each represents a particular objective involved in sentencing: punishing the criminal for the act, preventing the criminal from committing further crimes, changing their mindset and circumstances in order to prevent future crimes, and finally, punishing the criminal so that the idea of prison time acts as deterrent.

    Prisons and jails have poor reputations for providing a quality of life while incarcerated. People who are accused of crimes will do just about anything in order to avoid being sentenced to a jail or prison term. To present a recent example, socialite Paris Hilton was given a 45-day jail sentence for driving drunk while her license was suspended. Though she has admitted her guilt, she has now beseeched Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for a pardon to keep her out of jail. The idea of jail as a deterrent was ineffective the last time she was in trouble because she didn’t truly believe that she would go to jail. The same is true for many celebrities; they do not need to think about the consequences of their actions because they are rarely subjected to significant punishment. If Ms. Hilton serves the jail sentence, it will act as a deterrent in the future.

    Prisoners find a different way of life on “the inside” – they no longer have any freedom, every moment of the day is planned out for them. They cannot choose what to wear, what to eat, or even what time to go to bed. They must co-exist with whichever prisoners are assigned to their cell or unit. In this respect, they are denied the comforts to which they are usually entitled. Sentencing criminals to jail or prison terms is the most effective means of punishment because the average, reasonable person does not want to spend time incarcerated.

    Works Cited:

(2007 May 5). Paris Hilton sentenced to 45 days in jail. Retrieved May 5, 2007, from Web site: