The Effects of Punishment and Sentencing

The fundamental philosophies surrounding the purpose of sentencing are retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. The first of these things is again, retribution. Retribution is what people is deserved of a guilty party when a crime is committed. As stated in the text of chapter 10 of our required reading, “a wrongdoer who has freely chosen to violate society’s rules must be punished for the infraction.” “Retribution relies on the principle of just deserts, which holds that the severity of the punishment must be in proportion to the severity of the crime.” The second purpose listed is deterrence.

Deterrence is to try to get someone not to commit the crime again by enforcing a punishment or the threat of a punishment in order to kind of scare the person into not committing the crime again. They do this so that the perpetrator that commits a crime or thinks about committing a crime will hopefully weight out the actions and the consequences and determine for themselves that it is not worth committing the crime in the first place. In a jest it is to try to prevent future crimes from occurring. The third purpose earlier listed is incapacitation.

Incapacitation is basically to incarcerate the wrongdoers of society that break the law. I believe that the best possible way to explain the definition of this word is as stated in our text of required reading from our book, “incarcerating criminals guarantees that they will not be a danger to society, at least for the length of their prison terms. To a certain extent, the death penalty is justified in terms of incapacitation, as it prevents the offender from committing any future crimes.” Lastly the fourth purpose listed is rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is what people see as the most “humane” form of punishment. It is said that criminals can be “treated” and possibly even “cured” of their proclivities toward crime. It is believed that most courts are deterring from this method more and more and going towards more “get tough” types of punishment, like the retribution, deterrence, and the incapacitation models of punishment.

There are a lot of opinions surrounding capital punishment. There are many people who believe that the death penalty is wrong and inhumane. Then there are others who believe that the only thing that justifies murder or rape or something of that nature, is for the person who commit the crime to be put to death. There are so many hard feeling on both sides of the fence when it comes to this subject. There are so many people that have been affected by capital punishment, whether they were affected negatively or positively by the situation they were still affected and they still have permanent feelings toward the situation. It is hard to decide who is right in this situation. Both sides have and make so many great points. On one hand I do believe that to kill another human being is inhumane, but on the other hand I also believe that someone who kills or rapes someone or commits other horrible crimes like that should be punished and in most cases put to death. If someone in my family was on death row I would be begging for mercy so I do not think that I could demand justice for one someone else to be put to death. When it comes to the punishment of the convicted, I believe that one has to look at only what that person has done. When you take into consideration what that person has done that is all that a court or jury can look at when considering punishments for the convicted. Someone can not just jump up and decide automatically how to punish someone convicted of a crime. Every thing has to be taken into consideration when making that decision.