Chapter 19
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Chapter 19. Sentencing and Punishment. Sentencing. The imposition of a criminal sanction by a judicial authority. Modern sentencing practices are influenced by the following five goals: Retribution Incapacitation Deterrence Rehabilitation Restoration . Sentencing.

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Chapter 19 l.jpg

Chapter 19

Sentencing and Punishment

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  • The imposition of a criminal sanction by a judicial authority. Modern sentencing practices are influenced by the following five goals:

    • Retribution

    • Incapacitation

    • Deterrence

    • Rehabilitation

    • Restoration

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  • Retribution – something demanded as payment.

  • Proportionality – degree to which a particular punishment matches the seriousness of crime or matches the penalty other offenders have received for the same crime.

  • Capital Crimes – crime which death is permissible punishment.

  • Corporal Punishment – punishment that inflicts pain or injury to a person’s body.

  • General Deterrence – theory that punishment serves to deter others from committing crimes.

  • Penitentiary – prison.

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  • Rehabilitation – restoring someone to their former status.

  • Incarceration – imprisonment.

  • Incapacitation – punishment making it impossible for an offender to re-offend.

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Contemporary Forms of Criminal Punishment

There are a variety of criminal punishment:

  • Monetary Fines

    • For first time offenders

    • Offenders are required to pay back as punishment

    • Forfeiture – sacrifice of ownership or some right as a penalty

  • Incarceration

    • Confinement is generally the only effective way to deal with violent offenders.

    • Prison is an effective incapacitator, but rarely an effective rehabilitator.

    • Boot Camp – program designed to employ a system of discipline like the military. Inmates are generally young, nonviolent offenders who have committed theft, burglary, forgery, and other nonviolent offenses.

  • Probation

    • Conditional release of a convicted criminal in lieu of incarceration.

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Contemporary Forms of Criminal Punishment

  • Community service

    • Offenders are required to perform a specified number of hours of service to the community, doing specified tasks.

    • Is required as one of several conditions of probation.

  • Death penalty

    • 38 states currently authorize capital punishment for first-degree murder or other types of aggravated homicide.

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The Sentencing Stage of the Criminal Process

  • Presentence Investigation – investigation held before sentencing a convicted criminal to aid the court in determining the appropriate punishment.

  • Presentence Report – report containing the results of a presentence investigation.

  • Sentencing Hearing – hearing held by a trial court before the sentence is pronounced.

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The Sentencing Stage of the Criminal Process

  • Suspended Sentence – trial court’s decision to place a defendant on probation or under community control instead of imposing a sentence.

  • Concurrent Sentencing – practice in which a trial court imposes separate sentences to be served at the same time.

  • Consecutive Sentencing – practice in which a trial court imposes a sentence or sentences to be served following completion of a prior sentence or sentences.

  • Victim Impact Evidence – evidence relating to the physical, economic, and psychological impact that a crime has on the victim.

  • Victim Impact Statement – statement read into the record during the sentencing phase of a criminal trial to inform the court about the impact of the crime on the victim.

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Approaches to Incarceration

  • Indeterminate Sentencing – criminals are sentenced to prison for indeterminate periods until corrections officials determine that rehabilitation has been accomplished.

  • Definite Sentencing – legislatively determined sentencing with no discretion given to judges or corrections officials to individualize punishment.

  • Determinate Sentencing – process of sentencing whereby the judge sets a fixed term of years within statutory parameters and the offender must serve that term without possibility of early release.

  • Indefinite Sentencing – judge imposes a term of incarceration within statutory parameters, and corrections officials determine actual time served through parole or other means.

  • Mandatory Minimum Sentence – sentence in which the minimum duration of incarceration is specified by law.

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Approaches to Incarceration

  • Mandatory Sentencing – trial courts are constrained by law to impose prison terms of certain minimum duration.

  • Habitual Offenders – one who repeatedly commits crimes.

  • Three Strikes and You’re Out – statute that provides for mandatory life imprisonment for a convicted felon who has been previously convicted of two or more serious felonies.

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The Rights of Prisoners

  • Good-Time Credit – credit toward early release from prison based on good behavior during confinement.

  • Parole Revocation Hearings – administrative hearing held for the purpose of determining whether an offender’s parole should be revoked.

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The Rights of Crime Victims

  • Uniform Victims of Crime Act – law proposed by the Uniform Law Commission designed to provide uniform rights and procedures concerning crime victims.