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Briefly outline the various sentencing options available to the courts for both over and under 21s.

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Introduction

Briefly outline the various sentencing options available to the courts for both over and under 21s. The sentencing options available to courts are based on a number of factors. Firstly, sentencing in the UK commensurate to the crime committed. Second, the severity of sentences available will depend on the authority of the law 'awarding' the sentences. Thirdly, the overarching principles of sentencing under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003) must be observed. Lastly, sentencing options available to the courts are dependent on the age of the defaulter, which will be the dividing criteria of the essay. Sentencing based on proportionality of the crime committed is an important characteristic of the English legal system. There exist both mitigating and aggravating factors which may reduce or make the sentence harsher respectively. Examples of mitigating factors on the part of the offender would be remorse in court, previous good character, provocation, leniency of the victim and pleading guilty while examples of aggravating factors include racially motivated crimes, vulnerability of the victim, previous convictions and the crimes general effect on the victim and society. Different bodies of the law are given different levels of mandate in which to sentence offenders. The most noticeable difference would lie between the severity of sentences awardable by magistrates' courts and crown courts. In terms of fines, magistrates' courts are limited to �5000 while crown courts can impose unlimited fines. ...read more.

Middle

* Programme requirement - participate in an unaccredited programme for a certain number of days to address the offender's particular deviant behaviour * Activity requirement - participate in specified activities to help offender with employment, social problems or to pay reparations to the victim, lasts up to 2 months * Prohibited activity requirement - prevents offender from contacting a particular person or participating in certain activities for a period of time * Exclusion and curfew requirement - ordering offender to restrain or remain from/in a particular place (respectively) for a period of time, electronic tagging is available for this * Supervision requirement - places offender under probation officer for up to 3 years, includes attendance taking at probation centres * Alcohol and drug rehab requirement - offender to attend a rehabilitation programme concerning their particular vice * Residence requirement - offender ordered to live in a specific place * Attendance centre requirement - offender to report to centre for a number of hours per day to participate in physical education classes or practical courses Fines Strict liability crimes have fixed penalty fines under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001. Magistrates can award a maximum of �5000 while Crown Court Judges can impose an unlimited fine subject to guidelines under the CJA 2003. The highest fine imposed would be on Balfour Beatty Rail Company in the Hatfield Rail Disaster in Oct 2005. ...read more.

Conclusion

damage done based on type of damage and severity of offence, typically consisting 24 hours of work over 3 months * Supervisory order - young offenders are required to live in specified accommodations away from unconducive home environments and encouraged to take part in challenging activities * Referral order - first time offenders who plead guilty undergo a 'programme of behaviour' with aim of preventing further crime and requiring offender pay back to the victim and/or society (restorative justice) * Exclusion and curfew order - similar to that of adult community sentences, the offender is to restrain or remain from/in a particular place (respectively) for a period of time, electronic tagging is available for this * Action plan order - encompasses exclusion/curfew, supervisory, attendance centre orders into a single planned order with the aim to keep them 'on the straight and narrow' * Parenting contract order - parents may be required to attend counselling sessions and comply with certain conditions as part of an order, contracts help prevent potentially anti-social children from getting into trouble * Fines - applicable to young offenders though parents may be responsible for payment if the offender is under 16 years of age * Child safety order - available for under 10s who perform an act that would amount to a crime for an over 10, such cases are handed over to social workers or the Youth Offending Team, curfew orders may also be implemented ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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Overall, this is an accurate and comprehensive outline of the different sentences available to the courts for both adult and young offenders. It fully addresses the question. Perhaps it should be written in text form rather than using bullet points, which are considered appropriate for notes, rather than a full answer.
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Marked by teacher Nick Price 25/03/2012

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