• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Attempt to establish the relative advantages of both custodial and non-custodial sentencing in relation to punishing offenders in the United Kingdom.

Extracts from this document...


The purpose of this essay will be to attempt to establish the relative advantages of both custodial and non-custodial sentencing in relation to punishing offenders in the United Kingdom. The concept and rationale for punishment will be discussed, drawing on theoretical perspectives as analytical and evaluative tools. The essay will conclude with an overall evaluation of the merits and demerits of custodial vis � vis non-custodial sentencing and a projection for the future of sentencing. Garland defines punishment as a 'complex social institution,' arguing that it is a mechanism for dealing with criminals in a legally administrative way, but that it is also an expression of state power, a statement of collective prevailing morality, emotional expression and economically-linked social policy (Garland, 1990, p. 287). Punishment may also be defined as anything that is unpleasant, a burden, or an imposition of some sort on an offender. Thus, compensation is a punishment, as is having to attend a counselling program, paying a fine, having to report to a probation officer on a regular basis, or doing work for a crime victim (Duff 1992, p. 73; Davis 1992, pp. 44-45). Why society punishes and what punishment can and cannot accomplish are central issues to this essay so that the concept of punishment, manner and the degree to which it is metered out can be understood; not just as a means of sanctioning people for violating the law per se, but in gratifying prevailing social organisation (Garland, 2000, p. ...read more.


Broadly, duties may consist of: dredging canals, graveyard clearance, village hall renovation, playground building and cycle path construction, or indeed a multitude of other services that will benefit the local community (Alternatives to Prison, 2000, p. 5). The Community Punishment Order is not an option for the offender, as he or she is obliged to complete it as their sentence; therefore it is a form of punishment, but punishment with purpose that benefits the community and saves government expenditure. For example, the cost of one year's imprisonment is around �27,000 for an adult offender and �42,000 for a youth offender (under 18) in detention. Community Punishment Orders, Community Rehabilitation Orders, Community Punishment and Rehabilitation Orders range between �2000 and �4000 per order put into practice. Therefore, the potential saving as opposed to imprisonment is considerable (Alternatives to Prison, 2000, p. 24; Cavadino and Dignan, 2002, pp. 143-144). Custodial sentencing has its place in punishing by removing the most dangerous convicted offenders from society that are a threat to the public. Previous convictions may be taken into account when determining sentencing and the likelihood of re-offending. However, who truly knows that a person will re-offend? Can such an assumption be fair on the offender? Sentencers may be playing a safe option in the case of offenders who have committed the more serious crimes, by incarcerating them to avoid a societal moral backlash should they re-offend (Wilson, 2000, p. ...read more.


1). Custodial sentencing has not proven to be an effective mechanism for reducing crime, so therefore, the next logical step appears to be to test the efficacy of community-based punishment as an alternative. Perhaps over time, it will at least prove to be a more humanistic and dignified response to crime that may yield more rehabilitative and reparational positives and reduce re-offending. However, whether to punish by custodial or non-custodial sentencing is unlikely to significantly reduce crime in society. To paraphrase Durkeim: it is only mainstream society that embraces morality and a sense of duty, which is able to enjoy the rewards of conformity that can promote proper conduct on a consistent and regular basis (Garland, 2000, pp. 388-389). Durkeim relates to conformity and observing moral values in society, where people have to fit in with the norms and values of others or else they are on the outside of the moral and social order. Issues of social status, class, race and ethnicity can preclude access to this 'social and moral order.' If on the outside, these benefits are often unobtainable by legal means, so crime can sometimes be the only alternative; the unequal distribution of wealth ensures this. Therefore, if crime control, or perhaps more desirably, crime reduction is to be fully realised, then society must not stigmatise or isolate, but embrace policies of healing, rather than hurting - for it is perhaps societal inequalities that act as a springboard for crime in the main. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Criminal law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

An excellent essay, very well researched. Greater reference could be made to the statutory framework governing custodial sentencing (e.g. ss. 142, 144 and 148 CJA 2003; s. 12 PCC(S) A 2000; s. 153 CJA 2003 (determinate sentences); and s.225 (discretionary life sentences) etc.).

Otherwise, students should strive to reach the quality of this essay.

Marked by teacher Edward Smith 20/08/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Criminal law essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

    4 star(s)

    There is also criticisms on the fact that the CPS often reduce the charge against the defendant, making it out to be a less serious offence than it actually is and to what the evidence shows. Due to this fact there is a higher rate of the defendant to plead

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Critically consider all arguments concerning spousal compellability and conclude whether or not it ...

    4 star(s)

    may result in perjury.16 A wife is only compellable if the offence is specified,17 this is mainly because crimes in the household would probably go unpunished because of the lack of other adult witnesses, and the wife may be reluctant to testify because she may have played a part in the offence.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Art and part liability

    4 star(s)

    rather than the unexpectedness of the end result which determines liability. It is inferred that the person who knows that weapons are being carried is responsible for any use that might be made of them. Therefore it is possible that an individual could be held liable for the unintended consequences of criminal conduct, for example in Boyne v H.M.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Criminal Justice, Miscarriages of justice

    4 star(s)

    Mr Hale (local journalist) stated that 'Barbara Mayo was hitchhiking when she was abducted and Wendy Sewell occasionally did'. In this case the jury was not told all the facts, the confession could not be relied upon, and there was also fabrication of evidence.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "All inchoate offences should be abolished on the theory that society is not harmed ...

    3 star(s)

    take place, if it could then a crime would have been committed. Although impossibility is a defence, this excepts when it relates to the adequacy of the methods to be used. In Fitzmaurice 1983 the defendants father asked him to find someone to rob a woman with wages.

  2. Critically assess the impact of the way in which media and politicians represented the ...

    Firstly we need to focus on the media reporting and interpretation of the event. The actual reporting was hugely sensational and it made Thompson and Venables out to be monsters and freaks, the coverage and headlines was massive, the reporting was very emotional, prompting moral outrage.

  1. This essay will look at the possible liability of Alice and Briony for the ...

    pre-meditated but in order for them to be charged with murder, the defence would need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they intended to kill or cause GBH. In R v Saunders 1985, the term GBH meant that one meant to cause death or serious injury.

  2. After Woollin, the law of Intention remains unclear, but nonetheless works in a satisfactory ...

    If the test of virtual certainty was applied in isolation then it would have of returned the conclusion that the doctor had intended for Mary to die in order to prolong Jodie?s life, and he could then be convicted for murder.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work