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Prison Environment

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The Punishment Philosophy
Clay Stake
CJS/220
January 15, 2012
Tony Sanders

The Punishment Philosophy

After the conviction process has ended, the sentencing phase has five punishment philosophies the courts can impose. Deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution, and restoration are all punishment philosophies that have the same goal to prevent crime. Judges impose sentences that fit the crime, but must be reasonable to the public and not violate the United States Constitution. Judges may also decide to impose sanctions like fines, probation, home confinement, or even the death penalty. Sentencing and sanctions can be used to rehabilitate criminals, deter crime, or even plea bargains. No matter what the philosophy or the sanction of the sentence, the result is that past behavior can be used to predict future behavior.

The five punishment philosophies start with deterrence. Deterrence is a known penalty for crimes committed. For example, the three strikes law was imposed to deter criminals from committing crimes or face extended incarceration. Deterrence was designed to have certainty of a punishment, celerity or swiftness of that punishment, and the severity of the punishment. This philosophy is assuming that all people will consider the consequences of his or her actions before they act. This also means that people will learn from the punishment of the innocent.

Incapacitation is the removal of criminals from society. Prisons are the most common form of incapacitation because it confines criminals away from society. If criminals are incarcerated, they can not commit crime. Incarceration is designed to keep criminals off the streets, makes criminals pay for crimes, and deters criminals from committing more crime when released. This is not a full proof process, and there are some drawbacks. Although removing criminals from society is...

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