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Juvenile Sentencing. Goals of Punishment. General Deterrence To discourage the general community from committing crimes in the future Specific Deterrence To discourage a particular offender from committing additional crimes in the future. Rehabilitative

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goals of punishment
Goals of Punishment
  • General Deterrence
    • To discourage the general community from committing crimes in the future
  • Specific Deterrence
    • To discourage a particular offender from committing additional crimes in the future.
  • Rehabilitative
    • To discourage an offender from committing future crimes by reforming him or her.
    • Rehabilitation is an important goal in the juvenile justice system
    • Examples include mental health services, drug and alcohol treatment, sex offender treatment, education and job skills training
  • Retributivism
    • To punish an offender because he or she deserves it
    • Notion of proportionality
    • Backward-looking justification
  • Incapacitation
    • To take away an offender’s ability to commit additional crimes in the future
the eighth amendment
The Eighth Amendment
  • The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides:
    • “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
roper v simmons 2005
Roper v. Simmons (2005)
  • The Supreme Court held that capital punishment for juveniles is cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
  • “Capital punishment must be limited to those offenders who commit a narrow category of the most serious crimes and whose extreme culpability makes them the most deserving of execution.”
  • The majority opinion noted that there is a “national consensus” among state legislatures that juvenile offenders should not be given the death penalty.
  • The Court also cited that the international community condemns the use of capital punishment for juveniles.
roper v simmons 20051
Roper v. Simmons (2005)
  • The Roper Court emphasized that juveniles are less culpable than adults for several reasons.
    • Scientific and sociological studies demonstrate that “a lack of maturity and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility are found in youth more often than in adults” and “these qualities often result in ill-considered actions and decisions.”
    • Juveniles are more vulnerable or susceptible to negative influences and outside pressures, including peer pressure
    • The character of a juvenile is not as well formed as that of an adult.
sullivan v florida
Sullivan v. Florida


Joe Sullivan was sentenced to serve a life term without the possibility of parole from an incident that occurred when he was a 13-year old. Joe is mentally disabled and lived in a home where he was subjected to physical and sexual abuse. On the day of the incident, two older boys convinced Joe to commit a burglary. The three boys entered the house of Lena Bruner, an elderly woman, during the morning while nobody was home. They took jewelry and money and then left the house without getting caught. Later that afternoon, Ms. Bruner was physically and sexually assaulted in her home and did not see her attacker because she was blindfolded.

Based on the testimony of the older boys and the victim, Joe was tried and convicted as an adult for rape. At the trial, the victim testified that Joe’s voice sounded like the person who attacked her. The trial judge considered the fact that Joe had a long criminal record and sentenced Joe to life in prison without parole.

sullivan v florida1
Sullivan v. Florida
  • Question before the Supreme Court
    • Was Sullivan's sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for a non-homicide crime committed at the age of 13 a cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment?