Capital punishment means an offender is killed for committing a criminal offence. Death sentences were generally executions. The death penalty is no longer used in England, However in Belarus, People's republic of China, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Tonga and the United States still carry out some variation of Capital Punishment.
Life imprisonment replaced Capital punishment for murder in 1969 but the death sentence still stood until 1998 for treason, although the last English executions took place on the 13th August 1964 in Liverpool and Manchester for murder. Capital punishment did punish the offender by death, and was effective in the way it deterred criminals as they were aware if they committed the crime, they would die. However it did not take into account the circumstances of the offender and as the offender was killed, they did not have a chance of any kind of rehabilitation.
It did however provide some kind of relief and feeling of safety to the families of victims and in publicised cases, the public. Prison Sentencing There are three types of prison sentences; Suspended prison sentences. If an offender is given a suspended sentence, they do not get imprisoned but have to meet rules set by the court within the community which could be enforced for two years, for example an individual charged for nuisance behaviour having a curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am, which would restrict the offender from leaving their house during those times, and restricting the chance of a repeat offence.
Another example of a suspended sentence is Community Payback which requires the offender to complete a certain amount of hours of unpaid work. Determinate prison sentences If for example a judge gives a two year sentence then it is a determinate sentence as the sentence is fixed. If this sentence is under twelve months, the offender will be released half way through serving and spend the rest of their sentence with the probation service on 'licence'. Indeterminate Sentences If a court presents an offender with an indeterminate sentence, then a minimum sentence is implemented but there is no fixed end point.
The minimum sentence is named a tariff; however this sentence does not give the offender a right of release at the end of the tariff. At this point the parole board will decide whether this offender is safe to be released back into the community and if so, they will be released on licence. If the offender is still a threat to the community they will remain imprisoned. This sanction is commonly used to punish violent crimes, such as rape and manslaughter. Life sentences for murder A life sentence is always given to offenders who are guilty of murder.
Other serious offences can also result in a life sentence. A life sentence doesn't necessarily mean life in jail, but if an offender is released the licence conditions last for the rest of their life. Similarly to a Indeterminate sentence, but a court instead of giving a definitive date the offender must serve, a offender serving a life sentence will be given a date which they could be considered for release. In some very serious cases, a court may impose a full life sentence with no option of release. However there are critics who suggest this sanction is not as effective as it sets out to be.
Whilst prisons have the purpose like all sanctions; to correct the men's rea and rehabilitate the offender's behaviour and to set an example for would be criminals. Imprisonment separates offenders from 'real life' and places them in a populace of criminals Whilst the prison system effectively keeps dangerous criminals from the community, the less dangerous offenders who are placed in prisons for short sentences often re-offend.
The re-offending figure has now reached over 60% according to a survey and keeping an offender in jail for a year costs 50,000 approx which could provide a house or life-saving mechanism is not just damaging our communities, it is also putting a hole in our finances as a country. Offenders who commit less serious and victimless crimes are more frequently now being placed in programmes within the community to 'pay back' the damage they have done to the community. Community Sentencing Offenders such as those guilty of vandalism, noise pollution and anti social behaviour can be expected to do a certain amount of hours of unpaid work such as litter picking and removing graffiti, volunteering in establishments such as care homes and charity shops.
These sentences are sometimes used in conjunction with a prison sentence or court fine depending on the seriousness of the case. 'Community payback' is sentenced between four and three hundred hours and is always unpaid depending on the circumstances of the offender the sentence is tailored, such as a offender charged with being drunk and disorderly may also have to partake in AA meetings, therapy or treatment. A young offender may be sent to an educational establishment for those with behavioural issues and some offenders will be made to do training for a job. Some also have curfews, amongst many other conditions.
Community payback is organised with the community to ensure the work benefits the community's needs. Offenders who break their terms may incur imprisonment or further punishments Community service is cheaper than sending a offender to prison by i?? 47,500 currently and can be very beneficial to the offenders rehabilitation, for instance crimes may be committed by people that 'fell into the wrong crowd' and this work gives them routine and discipline. Offenders who need serious help have support also, through several agencies who deal with drug, alcohol and solvent abuse.
Community service can also provide an education, some councils provide offenders with English and maths skills, a pre-requisite for most jobs and college courses. Offenders will also see the true extremity and consequences of their actions, as some community service is tailored to the crime committed, such as defacing a public area could be punished with cleaning this area. Re-0ffending rates are also lower than short prison sentences, at 38% instead of 60% according to the BBC in July 2010 However, Community service is still at some kind of scrutiny from the public.
Work is seen as 'too easy' and it can be argued that it is grossly unfair for example; a shoplifter be punished with work such as painting fences, whilst the shopkeeper who is the victim is punished for however long it takes to recuperate either emotionally or fiscally. Only 65% of community service is completed, leaving the other 35% of offenders in prison, defeating the point of this trial. However, it provides a good alternative to a short sentence in prison. Community service has changed the lives of many petty criminals for the better and benefits the country as the work is needed.
Court Orders Some crimes are regarded not serious enough for community service or a prison sentence; these 'low level' crimes are dealt with by the magistrate's court or a court of petty sessions. This is the lowest level of court and offenses can consist of not paying council tax, speeding, driving without insurance and petty theft. The amount fined depends on a means form filled in by the offender which details the financial circumstances of the offender to make sure they will be able to pay it. This depends on savings and income, alongside with responsibilities and outgoings.
Compensation will be charged if the crime committed affected someone else known as the victim. A notice is issued, informing the offender of how much, how to and the date which they need to pay by. If an offender doesn't pay the fine and doesn't inform the court they cannot pay, a further court hearing will be issued and they may seize possessions from the offender such as their car, or directly seizing monies from the offender's bank account. Failure to pay can also result in imprisonment Court fines can be effective because people don't generally want to part with money.
These can deter petty criminals from re-offending because to someone on a low income, for example a i?? 50 fine is a considerable amount. They also reduce the amount of offenders being imprisoned and placed on community service. However, in 2002 it was reported that court fines are almost 'voluntary' with only 40% being paid in some areas in England. Court fines are badly organised, some written off because offenders have gone 'missing'. Criminals may see these fines as a let off and continue offending.