Role of the Courts • Court decides what sentence should be imposed on the offender. • The Judge or magistrates decide on an appropriate punishment in each case. • What restrictions are they subject to when deciding on a suitable sentence?. Aims of Sentencing
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Role of the Courts
• Court decides what sentence should be
imposed on the offender.
• The Judge or magistrates decide on an
appropriate punishment in each case.
• What restrictions are they subject to when
deciding on a suitable sentence?
Aims of Sentencing
• The judge / magistrates will have to decide what they are trying to achieve by the punishment they give.
• For example, should they simply punish D for what he’s done, or should they try and alter his future behaviour?
Aims of Sentencing
S.142 Criminal Justice Act 2003:
• The punishment of offenders
• The reduction of crime (inc. by deterrence)
•Reform and rehabilitation of offenders
• The protection of the public
•Reparation by offenders to those affected by the crime
Read the article and answer the questions on page 205 of “OCR Law for AS”.
•“An eye for an eye…..”
• Based on the idea of punishment because the
offender deserves it.
• No attempt to alter D’s future behaviour.
• What types of sentences do you think achieve
• Society expressing its disapproval of criminal
• Can influence society’s views on what is
acceptable / unacceptable conduct.
• Examples: drink driving; enhanced sentencing
for racist crime.
• Offender is made incapable of re-offending.
• Can be a short-term solution, however,
depending on the sentence.
• Think of some examples of sentences that
reflect this aim of sentencing.
• Aimed at reducing future levels of crime.
• Individual – to deter D from re-offending.
• General- to deter other potential offenders
from committing crimes.
• Idea is to give a harsh punishment, e.g.
prison sentence or heavy fine.
What deters criminals?
• Being caught?
• A tough sentence?
• The reaction of family / friends?
• Theory assumes an offender will stop to
consider consequences – but most crime is
committed on the spur of the moment.
• Main aim is to reform the offender so that they
do not re-offend in the future.
• Usually involves community sentences.
• Often discriminates against the underprivileged.
• Leads to inconsistency in sentencing.
• Aimed at compensating the victim of the
• Based on idea that criminals should pay
compensation to their victims.
•S.130 Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing)
Act 2000 says courts are under a duty to give
reasons if they do not make a compensation
Read the article on page 212 of “OCR Law for AS” and answer the questions following it.
Before passing sentence, the court will consider:
• Any aggravating / mitigating factors
• Pre-sentence reports (Probation service)
• Any previous convictions
• Medical Reports
• Character Statements
• D’s financial / domestic circumstances
• Reduction in sentence for a guilty plea.
• What reasons did the Sentencing Guidelines
Council give for allowing reductions in
sentences for guilty pleas?
• Do you agree with this concept?
Types of Sentence
Draw a chart with 3 columns showing…
1) the different types of sentence available
2) an explanation of each sentence
3) the aims of each sentence
S.152 Criminal Justice Act 2003:
• Court must not pass a custodial sentence
unless it is of the opinion that the offence
“…so serious that neither a fine alone nor a
community sentence can be justified”.
• Range from intermittent (“weekend”) prison
to life imprisonment.
• Can be unfair on D’s family.
• Can be very difficult for D to re-integrate into
society on release (job, housing etc.)
Criminal Justice Act 2003:
• Created one community order under which
the court can combine any requirements it
thinks are necessary.
•“Mix and match” approach to meet D’s needs
s.177 Criminal Justice Act 2003 includes:
• Unpaid work requirement
• Curfew requirement
• Exclusion requirement
• Supervision requirement
• Drug rehabilitation requirement
• Sum payable to the Crown – not compensation
for the victim.
• Most common sentence in Magistrates’ Court.
•“Rich man, poor man” problems.
• What happens if D cannot pay?
Discharges and other orders…
• Conditional discharge – often used for first time
• Absolute discharge
• Disqualification from driving
• Compensation order
Anti-Social Behaviour Orders
• Civil orders that can be imposed where a
person has behaved in an anti-social manner.
• Breaking an ASBO is a criminal matter and the
offender can then be sentenced for the
• At what age is a child criminally liable?
• Different sentences available for those under
18, under 16, under 14 and under 12.
• Main aim is reformation and rehabilitation