9 Sep 2022


Criminal Justice: Rehabilitation Sentencing Goal

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Many changes have been experienced in practice and philosophy of corrections and sentencing for the past years. Strong rehabilitation emphasis existed in the past resulted in the focus of justice and fairness which reflected sentences than utilitarian motive. The sentencing practice was later shifted to the model of crime control from the 1980s to 1990s. In the 21 st century, corrections and sentencing practices and policies were characterized by diverse goals. There existed four primary aims in sentencing process attribution. They include incapacitation, deterrence, rehabilitation, and retribution. These goals differ in the manner expected for the provision of public safety due to population growth in crime cases. This study explores the issues in crime justice based on sentencing. 

Rehabilitation Sentencing Goal 

Improvement strategy is seen as the best in US country due to mind torture experienced by prisoners in the application of other sentences. This policy changes criminals are thinking and behavior patterns thus stopping their crime tasks. Many citizens in spite of its transition in practice and philosophy changes welcome the rehabilitation process in behavior corrections. In rehabilitation, the individuals’ traits explaining criminal behavior are understood and identified, and best intervention plans are applied to avoid future crime occurrence. The task of recovery focuses on psychological theories based on general principles, cognition, and learning of personal development in the application of illegal behavior analysis. 

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Deterrence and Incapacitation Sentencing Goals 

Due to increase in crime in the years 1965 and 1975 for inhabitants released from the prison, 77% offenders rose from 1992 and 1996 (Justice Research and Statistics Association, 1998). These inmates were not supposed to be re-imprisoned by application of similar sentence that they had been incarcerated. This led to the application of deterrence and incapacitation. 

Incapacitation concept applied to crime offenders incarcerated who cannot commit any crimes out of prison. The concept gained its interest in the 1970s due to rehabilitation efficacy concerns raised in an increase of public fear and crime rates. The emphasis of deterrence base on onerousness punishment where offenders deterred from crime committal due to rational calculation claims that punishment cost was too high. This sentence seemed severe thus preventing any future crime commitment. These sentences applied due to the failure of rehabilitation strategy involved earlier. Deterrence and incapacitation concept increases in the prison research and population showed enormous diversities in committed crime-by-crime offenders in societal directed attention towards tactic of selecting a group of criminals. The two goals are seen to help in reduction of crime among men and women, drug use by 215,100 abusers which was 29 by 1980 to 1996, murder cases and sexual assault offenses (Justice Research and Statistics Association, 1998). 

Indeterminate sentencing and its aspects 

Indeterminate sentencing is when the criminal sentence is recognized as range other than an individual period. The penalty is not determined at a particular time. The judge has broad discretion in deciding and imposes a sentence that will be recognized as a range. For example, convicted criminal obtains an indeterminate sentence of two to ten years. The criminal knows he will serve a minimum of two years and a maximum of ten years. The period crime series will only depend on various variables. 

Positive aspects of indeterminate sentencing are as follows: it helps to rehabilitate offenders back to society. Taking into considerations that every person has his needs and requirements for each person varies. Early release may be possible with the indeterminate sentence, but it boils down to a criminal who shows good behavior and bad behavior is punished. If good behavior is persistent, then they are eligible to be released (Justice Research and Statistics Association, 1998). These releases are mainly discretionary to parole supervision. Negative aspects of indeterminate sentencing can be increased power on parole boards that may result in a discriminatory decision. As observed from past encounters minorities were given very harsh decision compared to majorities in the United States. This system may be manipulated through criminal who understand it well to reach to their freedom. 

Structured sentencing and its use for contemporary criminal justice system in the US 

Formal sentencing is a procedure of determining criminal's sentence. It categorizes criminals using various aspects then imposes sentence as outlined by law. Many states and federal government employ structured sentencing. The judge has to sentence criminal by specified period indicated in law. There are three models of structured sentencing namely determinate sentencing, voluntary sentencing and presumptive sentencing. The states and the federal government in USA use these to address contemporary criminal justice crimes in the states. 


Justice Research and Statistics Association. (1998). JRSA: Justice Research and Statistics Association . Washington, DC: Author. 

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