State and Federal objectives of punishment

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For centuries governments have acted on behalf of society removing and punishing criminals with the goal of protecting its citizens. Criminals were arrested and locked-up in jails awaiting their sentencing. Once sentenced, they were publically humiliated, tortured, or killed. Early forms punishments were cruel and mostly focused on retribution.

State and Federal objectives of punishment

Today punishment is the most dominant correctional goal of both the state and federal government in response to criminality. The purpose of punishment is to protect society, rehabilitate criminal offenders, and reduce recidivism. In both the state and federal correctional institutions, their objectives are to use punishment as form deterrence while incapacitating and, rehabilitating offenders. For punishment to be successful it must be so unpleasant that it will hopefully deter inmates from reverting to such life and also deter others from taking part in such activities. In response to the growing public concern over criminality, politicians have adopted a Tough on Crime approach when dealing with law breakers, and have pushed for new legislation to keep criminal offenders from further harming or terrorizing society. Citizens believe that it is only fair that criminal pay for their actions and get what they deserve. These new legislations have set sentencing requirements for different offences, which can be found in the state’s penal code.

Sentencing’s affects

In the past judges had more discretion when handing down sentences, but most recently they have been encouraged to follow the sentencing guidelines found in their state’s penal codes. Prior to sentencing offenders judges are required to choose from a range of mandatory sentencing ...

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...hese offenders consisted of individuals who had committed petty crimes, and have never had any prior convictions. During their pretrial hearing the judge would sentence them to a community-based program like probation. Although this might not seem enough to reduce the current inmate population, it is without a doubt a step in the right direction in the fight against prison overcrowding. (Seiter, 2011)

Works Cited

Seiter, R. (2011). Corrections: An introduction (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Seabrook, N. (2005, September). Prison Violence on the Rise. USA Today. Retrieved from

Bureau of Justice Statistics. (October 2008). Census of State and Federal Correctional facilities, 2005, (p1-2),. Retrieved from
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