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Chapter 11 Punishment and Sentencing

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1 Chapter 11 Punishment and Sentencing

2 The History of Punishment
From Exile to Fines, Torture to Forfeiture Public Work and Transportation to the Colonies The Rise of the Prison

3 The Goals of Modern Sentencing
General Deterrence Punishing the offender serves to convince society not to commit crimes Difficulty in determining the right amount of punishment Some believe recent declines in crime rates are result of tough sentences Assumes people consider consequences before acting

4 The Goals of Modern Sentencing (cont.)
Incapacitation Confinement so that offender cannot commit more crimes Specific Deterrence Will deter that particular offender from committing future crimes Retribution/Just Desert Those who commit crimes deserve to be punished

5 The Goals of Modern Sentencing (cont.)
Rehabilitation Based on treatment philosophy that offenders can be reformed Equity/Restitution It is fair and just for criminals to repay society and their victims

6 Imposing the Sentence Except for mandatory sentences judges rely on a variety of information Victim impact statements Pre-sentence investigation reports Concurrent Sentences: person serves sentences for two or more crimes at the same time Consecutive Sentences: sentences for two or more criminal acts that are served one after the other Effect of Good Time

7 Sentencing Models Indeterminate Sentences Based on a treatment philosophy which must fit the needs of the offender Sentence has a minimum & maximum Inmate can earn time off for good behavior Early release but continued supervision

8 Sentencing Models (cont.)
Determinate Sentences Sometimes referred to as structured sentences Prompted by dissatisfaction with disparity and uncertainty of indeterminate sentencing. Defendants serve specified number of years Use of sentencing guidelines

9 Sentencing Models (cont.)
Effectiveness of Guidelines They are too rigid, harsh and overly complex Biased against African-Americans Take into account juvenile convictions Result in longer prison terms U.S. v. Booker held federal guidelines were unconstitutional

10 Sentencing Models (cont.)
Mandatory Sentences Bars judicial discretion May exclude probation May exclude parole May use minimum or maximum terms but most commonly requires a fixed prison sentence Have increased the size of the correctional population to record levels

11 Sentencing Models (cont.)
Three-Strikes Laws Provides lengthy prison terms for anyone convicted of three felonies – many of the statutes impose a life sentence May involve relatively trivial felony offenses Experts argue whether it has any deterrent effect

12 Sentencing Models (cont.)
Truth in Sentencing Require offenders to serve a substantial portion of their prison sentence behind bars Parole eligibility and good-time credits are restricted or eliminated

13 How People are Sentenced
In 2002 more than one million adults were convicted of a felonies in a single year About 2/3rd of felons convicted in state court were sentenced to a period of confinement. The average sentence was 4½ years. Offenders generally served only 51% of their sentence.

14 How People are Sentenced (cont.)
Factors That Effect Sentencing: Seriousness of the crime Offender’s prior record Whether offender used violence Whether offender used a weapon Whether the crime was committed for money

15 How People are Sentenced (cont.)
Factors That Effect Sentencing (cont.): Social class – lower class members may expect to get longer sentence Gender – chivalry hypothesis; women receive more favorable outcomes Age – more lenient with elderly offenders Victims with “negative personal characteristics – defendants may receive shorter sentences Racial status – minorities receive longer sentences in some jurisdictions

16 Capital Punishment More than 14,500 executions since 1608 Most executions for murder & rape Supreme Court has limited crimes for which death penalty may be imposed Death penalty for murder is used in 37 states and by the federal government

17 Capital Punishment (cont.)
Approximately 3,500 people are currently under sentence of death Between 75 and 100 people are executed each year In people were executed Lethal injection primary mode of execution Unease over potential for error has caused decline in number of inmates on death row

18 Capital Punishment (cont.)
Arguments for the Death Penalty Incapacitation Deterrence Morally Correct Proportional to the Crime Reflects Public Opinion Unlikely Chance of error

19 Capital Punishment (cont.)
Arguments Against the Death Penalty Possibility of Error Unfair Use of Discretion Misplaced Vengeance Weak Public Support Little Deterrent Effect – Causes More Crime Than it Deters Always a hope of rehabilitation Racial, Gender, and Other Bias Brutalization Effect Expensive and Morally Wrong

20 Capital Punishment (cont.)
Legal Issues Furman v. Georgia: Discretionary imposition is unconstitutional Gregg v. Georgia: Must consider aggravating and mitigating circumstances Ring v. Arizona: Jury must impose sentence – not judges Atkins v. Virginia: May not execute mentally ill Roper v. Simmons: Must be 18 years old to be sentenced to death

21 Capital Punishment (cont.)
Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment Three methods of research used to try to determine if death penalty deters crime Immediate-impact studies Time-series analysis Contiguous-state analysis Most researchers have failed to show any deterrent effect of capital punishment General consensus is that capital punishment has little deterrent effect

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