Level of Punishment Does Not Fit the Crime Essay

Level of Punishment Does Not Fit the Crime Essay

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It is insulting to the victims and families of victims of serious crimes that the justice system fails to make sure that criminals pay the price for the devastation that they cause. For example, Johannes Mehserl only served 2 years in prison for the killing of innocent member of public, Oscar Grant. At the same time, there are examples of 5 years prison sentences for the possession of marijuana. This is enormously unfair, as someone who can take the life of another human being should receive a far harsher punishment than someone whose crime only effects themselves.
In today’s society, the level of punishment for crimes are decided and applied by the laws of every country. However, in recent years there has been an increasing sense that the punishments applied are imbalanced and do not always prevent people from repeating their crimes.
There are many reasons why society chooses to punish people who break the law. For example, they deserved to be punished; it will stop them from committing more crimes; it tells the victim that society feels they have been badly treated; it stops others from committing the same crime and it protects society from those who are seen to be dangerous. When sentencing, judges consider each of these points, but they can vary the sentences they give out.
Before the creation of constitutional governments in most of Western Europe in the 18th and 19th century, punishments for law breaking were random and dependant on the wishes of royalty or local dignitaries who had the authority to decide on punishment levels. There were no set guidelines for punishments and capital punishment was available for everything from murder to minor theft.
Today’s justice system is unclear and imbalanced for a number of reasons. ...

... middle of paper ...

...o increase sentences for those people who are found to commit the worst of crimes. Serial killers, Ian Brady, Rose West and Peter Tobin will all die in prison because of the terrible crimes they committed. If punishment was automatic, they may now have served their sentence and would be out of prison.
In conclusion, while I accept the need for flexibility in the justice system to take account of circumstances, such as the motivation of the person in question, I believe that the justice system today is not working. There are too many examples of crimes that are not properly punished, while at the same time, we continue to see prisons filling up with petty criminals who would be better punished by carrying out services to the community. If the basic purpose of the justice system is to ensure that the punishment fits the crime, then substantial changes need to be made.

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