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Sentencing and Punishment in the US Corrections System

Analyzes the principal objectives of punishment within the U.S. corrections system and answer the following questions:
1. What are the state and federal objectives of punishment?
2. How does sentencing affect the state and federal corrections systems overall? Support your answer.
3. What is determinate and indeterminate sentencing? Which sentencing model do you feel is most appropriate? Explain why and provide an example.

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What are the state and federal objectives of punishment?

The state and federal government have the objective of adhering to the principles of the social contract when issuing punishment for civil and criminal infractions. The social contract posits that people give up inalienable rights such as the right for individual retribution, revenge, and taking the law into their own hands to live in a society that is supposed to provide remedies when they are wronged. When people left their hunter and gathering mentality to become a part of societies, the principle rules were that they would receive greater protection from larger numbers, better resources, and more abundant wealth. For all of these benefits, the only contingency would be that people would have to circumvent their right to net out justice whenever they were wronged or someone within their tribe or family was the victim of a wrong.

The objective of federal and state punishment is to ensure that citizens are satisfied with a sentence or punishment given for a wrong committed against them or their family. To appease the victims is the objective because this ensures that they will not seek revenge or personal retribution against the criminals. Therefore, laws within society enable punishment to given in the form of community service, monetary fines, forfeiture of property, restitution, incarceration, or death depending on the severity of the offense. Two types of wrongs are evident within state and federal law, which are civil and criminal.

Civil wrongs warrant civil sanctions that are punitive in nature, but primarily seek to provide compensation to the victim. In many cases juries are allowed to assess punitive damages toward the defendant in cases that caused extreme harm or where intent existed to harm the victim. These damages intend to punish defendants and set examples for similar wrongdoers serving as a deterrent toward future behavior. These punishments can ruin and shame defendants but do not carry the same severity associated with criminal punishment as defendants do not lose their right to liberty and freedom.

Federal and state governments employ two theories that justify their use of punishment to maintain order in society and ensure that the government adheres to its role in the social contract aforementioned within the beginning of this paper. The two theories associated with punishment in federal and state governments are utilitarian and retributive forms of punishment. Utilitarian punishment within the framework of the social contract seeks to issue punishment that deters future ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the objectives of punishment, the affects of sentencing and the differences and appropriateness of determinate and indeterminate sentencing. I focuses on the role of the victim and the state in civil and criminal cases. This solution is 1623 words.