Look at R v Billam (1986), which sets out sentence tariffs for rape. This case set out guidelines for imprisonment of rapists, Billam suggests that rape carries an automatic custodial sentence, 'other than in wholly exceptional circumstances', the maximum sentence for rape is life, although, In terms of mitigation, if a plea of guilty is entered, effectively relieving the victim of the ordeal of having to appear in court, the guidelines state that this 'should normally result in some reduction from what would otherwise be the appropriate sentence'.
Rehabilitation: Emphasis on the individual can be seen no more clearly in the aim of rehabilitation. The idea that sentences should be designed to assist in the rehabilitation of the criminal, attempting in some way to address not only the crime, but also the causes of crime. For instance, many crimes are committed by those addicted to or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you help to treat the addiction you can hopefully prevent further criminal activity by that person.
"Sexual assault and rape are not just sex. They involve the total humiliation of a woman. They involve taking control of her body against her will. They involve taking all dignity and self-assurance away from a woman, and reducing her to an object of sexual abuse. It is violence when someone forces a woman to engage in sexual acts against her will. It is humiliation. It is degradation. During interviewing rapists say themselves that rape is more about power and violence than about sex".
(Rape Crisis Federation, England and Wales) Deterrence: The theory of deterrence is sound; the punishment is aimed at deterring the criminal from repeating his offence or deterring others from committing a similar crime. In this way a deterrent sentence may be aimed at both an individual and society more generally. Reality however has proven that certainly prison does not appear to deter either, the convicted or the criminally intent as shown by statistics that 55% of adult prisoner re-offend within two years.
More generally the effect is even less, it is extremely hard to make an example of a criminal, and most would argue that, this is only right in order to maintain individual civil liberties and human rights. It also seriously conflicts with the ideas of retribution as it can lead to excessively harsh sentences. However the lack of deterrent by example has a detrimental affect on the effect of deterrent punishment. The conflict is between what the right punishment for the individual is and what punishment is needed to protect society from others committing a similar offence.
Within English Law however, the right ultimately rests where it should, with the individual The Sex Offender Order is a new civil order which can be applied for by the police against any sex offender aged 10 or over where present behaviour in the community gives the police reasonable cause for concern that an order is necessary to protect the public from serious harm from him / her. Applications are to the Magistrates' Court acting in its civil capacity.
The orders are preventative only but carry the requirement to register under the Sex Offenders Act 1997 while they are in effect. The minimum duration for an order is 5 years. The prohibitions in the order must be such as are necessary to protect the public from serious harm from the defendant. The Orders are intended to fill a gap in the provisions available to protect the public from risk from sex offenders. Breach of an order without reasonable excuse is a criminal offence triable either way, with a maximum penalty on indictment of 5 years in prison.
"Section 66 and Schedule 5 amend the Sex Offenders Act (1997) (the 1997 Act), which specifies in Part I that certain sex offenders are subject to requirements to notify certain personal details to the police. The amendments brought into force by this Order on 1st June change the period and certain other requirements for giving notification; make provision for fingerprinting and photographing the offender when he makes his notification; create new offences for relevant offenders in breach of the new requirements of the 1997 Act; and provide for additional penalties to be imposed on those in breach of the 1997 Act's requirements.
Further, they provide courts with the power to make a restraining order when making certain disposals of a sex offender for sexual offences to which Part I of the 1997 Act applies". (The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000)
Sources and Bibliography
Ashton J, Wilson D, Crime & Punishment (what everyone should know about), (1998): London, Blackstone.