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Critically evaluate the aims and consequences of sentencing and show how the laws regarding sentencing currently stand in England and Wales.

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Introduction

Criminal Justice: Assignment 1 In this assignment I intend to critically evaluate the aims and consequences of sentencing and show how the laws regarding sentencing currently stand in England and Wales. I will show how sentencing an offender works, and how judges come to their decisions. I also intend to show what the aims of sentencing set out to achieve. Sentencing is a particularly important aspect in the Criminal Justice System in operation within England and Wales. It must be determined, to define what sentencing does, what it can do what it could achieve and whether or not it endorses the aims it is given. At present, there is not one specific aim of the Criminal Justice System. According to the current Home Office Statement which has been released, the aims of the Criminal Justice System is "to build a safe, just and tolerant society, in which rights and responsibilities of individuals, families and communities are balanced, and the protection and security of the public are maintained". There are many opinions as to what sentences are actually meant to achieve. Punishment is categorised as guilt, blame, pain or humiliation. Many of the general public believe that a sentence should be passed to punish an offender although in some cases this may not necessarily be the correct sentence to pass. ...read more.

Middle

As a result, sentencing law violates the rule of law's virtues of consistency and fairness". This, in layman's terms means that sentencing is designed to be individualistic rather than generalistic. This makes sense, as no two crimes are ever exactly the same, and is a very European way of looking at sentencing, as opposed to the United States way of being very generalistic. Murder is the only offence in this country which carries the fixed sentence of life imprisonment. Every other offence carries a maximum sentence although some public order offences do not carry any sentence other than an order to keep the peace. However, under the Powers of Criminal Courts (sentencing) Act (2000) a 'three strikes' system was introduced. Ss.109 states that you will get a life sentence for your second serious offence committed. Ss 110 states the same for drug trafficking and s.s 111 says that domestic burglary will receive the same penalty. There is a minimum of three years for the third offence, which is an attempt to impose some form of fixed sentencing. However, the government put in some discretion by stating that this can only be done whereby in may cause extreme injustice. For this reason, there have been very few offenders given a life sentence for their second serious offence. ...read more.

Conclusion

[Jan 31st 2003] CA Hall was convicted of 2 counts of sexual intercourse with a 12yr old girl. He pleaded guilty before trial, but aggravated the offence in such that the age difference was 20yrs and as well as the fact that he instigated the offence, the girl was in the same class as his son at school. In Ingham (1980) 2 Cr App R (S) 184 it was shown that voluntary work taken on by the offender can show remorse as there is more recognition of social acceptability. I believe that sentencing does consist in trying to settle a number of totally conflicting facts. In some circumstances it may be easier to have fixed sentences for offences; however with the Human Rights Act 1998 now in force, it may not work. If a court did not take into consideration any reasons for why an offender had committed the offence then the right to a fair trial may be raised by the offender. On the other hand, it could also be stated that people should not commit crimes anyway, so why should they get any special considerations when they get caught? Sentencing is always going to be a difficult matter where the courts are concerned. There will always be people who commit crimes and therefore if the courts do not want to be bound by their previous decisions then it will carry on to be one big circle with respect to the guidelines of sentencing. ...read more.

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