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Prison Environment Essay

1015 words - 5 pages

The Punishment Philosophy
Clay Stake
January 15, 2012
Tony Sanders

The Punishment Philosophy

After the conviction process has ended, the sentencing phase has five punishment philosophies the courts can impose. Deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution, and restoration are all punishment philosophies that have the same goal to prevent crime. Judges impose sentences that fit the crime, but must be reasonable to the public and not violate the United States Constitution. Judges may also decide to impose sanctions like fines, probation, home confinement, or even the death penalty. Sentencing and sanctions can be used to rehabilitate criminals, deter crime, or ...view middle of the document...

Many critics believe that this style of punishment is not rehabilitating criminals, but educating them to other crimes (Crime and rehabilitation, 2011).

Rehabilitation is the philosophy of treating the criminal in an attempt to reform his or her behavior. For example, a drug treatment program may be sentenced to help a person stop drug use. The logic behind this is that if a person does not have a drug habit, they will not commit a crime. The main problem is that nobody knows if the person is “cured” from the treatment. Can a person be changed into an honest citizen with treatment, and will that person not have drug and crime tendencies is a question that many experts ask. Many programs are designed as a way to test criminals by threatening “just deserts” is that person commits another crime if rehabilitation fails.

Retribution is also commonly referred to as “just deserts.” This philosophy encompasses “let the punishment fit the crime” that many people believe in today. Many people believe that it is only fair that a criminal be punished in a way that his or her crime was committed. Society does not want criminals to escape justice and believe that every wrongful act should have consequences. This philosophy is instilled by parents to children. As children, parents teach us that our actions have reactions from others, and if a rule is broken, consequences follow. There are drawbacks to retribution, like mental status, and is this an act of vengeance. Legally, a person must know what they did was wrong, and have the mental capacity to stand trial. Many people think that rehabilitation should be the first step, and others believe that restoration is a suitable punishment in certain cases.

Restoration is used in minor crimes that make the victim whole again. This philosophy can be implemented in theft crimes, for example. Restoration can be a restitution of money returned to the victim or services to undo the crime. Fines can be made and community service can help make amends to the victim. This compensation considers the victim in the case, not just the crime.

Sanctions are alternative punishments the judge can sentence criminals to complete. Most sanctions are...

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