Judges have discretion as to what sentences they choose to impose on offenders. Under Criminal Justice Act 2003, they must consider the aims of the sentencing in relation to the particular offence and the particular offender:
The aims of sentencing is set out below:
- Protection of public
- Punishment of offender
- Compensation to the victim
- Reduction of Crime(deterrence)
- Reform and rehabilitation of the offender
The punishment of offender is based on the principle of retribution which states that the offender deserves to receive a punishment that is in proportion to his crime. This applies the mentality of ‘an eye for an eye’ and ensures that the offender pays for his offence. This justifies the death penalty for cases such as manslaughter. It does not aim to reform or rehabilitate the offender and merely satisfies a sense of revenge for the victims. It contains the principle of denunciation which reflects societal disapproval at the offender’s act. Example of punishment may include imprisonment, community sentences or fines.