When Judges or Magistrates pass a sentence they not only look at the sentences available but have to decide what they are trying to achieve by the punishment they give.

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Aims of Sentencing

  • Retribution- "eye for an eye"... Punish offender for the crime they have committed, with a sentence he deserves.

For example: Murder- life imprisonment (death penalty abolished 1965)

  • Protection of the Public- Incapacitate offender to safeguard society.

For example: Prison sentences for violent offenders- curfew and tags, ban from driving.

  • Deterrence Individual or General- Harsh punishment to deter D from offending (individual) to deter society from comitting the offence.

For example: Drink driving- ban for 12 months, Littering- £70 fine.

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Aims of Sentencing

  • Denunciation- Society showing disapproval, enforcing moral boundaries.

For example: Harsh penalities e.g Riots in Birmingham- prison sentences for first time offenders, Football Hooliganism.

  • Rehabilitation- Reforming D's behaviour to stop re-offending (often youths).

For example: Community orders e.g drink and drug programs etc.

  • Reparation- Repayments to either the victim or society or both.

For example: Community order, compensation to victim.

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Types of sentences

  • Prison sentences (custodial)- Adults:+21 Youth: 12-21
  • Community Sentences- Adult:+16 Youth: 10-16 
  • Others e.g. Fines, bans, discharges etc. 
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Factors that affect sentence- Aggravating

Aggravating factors- they make a sentence longer e.g previous convictions 

  • Previous convictions for a similar offence (esculation). 
  • D was on bail 
  • Racial or religious hostility related to the offence. 
  • Disabled or sexual orientation hostility involved in the offence. 
  • Pleading not gulity 
  • Vulnerability of victim 
  • Drug/alcohol abuse 
  • If a weapon had been selected 
  • Pre-meditated 
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Factors that affect sentence- Mitigating

Mitigating Factors- these are factors that can shorten your sentence. 

  • These may be taken into account to impose a lesser sentence. 
  • Early guilty plea... saves time, costs and avoids victim giving evidence (up to a third). 
  • Sentencing guidelines 
  • Motive- (necessity) provication
  • Pre-sentence reports 
  • Medical evidence... mental or physical 
  • Showing remorse 
  • No previous convictions 
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Community Sentences for adult offenders

  • Criminal Justice Act 2003
  • Created one community order for offenders aged 16 and over.
  • Any of a number of requirements can be combined as thought necessary.
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Community Sentences for adult offenders

The possible requirements:

  • Unpaid work : 40-300 hours; re-offending rates are lower than for any other community sentence.
  • Prohitited activity
  • Curfew
  • Exclusion
  • Activity- for example Eric Contana (footballer) assulted a fan so he had to teach football to disadvantage children.
  • Residence-  they have to live at a certain address for a certain amount of time.
  • Mental health treatment
  • Drug rehabilitation
  • Alcohol Treatment
  • Maybe tested everyweek for drugs and alcohol.
  • Supervision: of probation officer to 'promise rehabilitation.
  • Attendance centre (for those aged less than 25)
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Other types of sentences

  • Fines- up to £5,000 (magistrates)
  • Discharge:

Conditional- The court discharges you on the conditional if you don't reoffend in a certain amount of time.

Absolute- You don't get any penalty, you walk away free.

  • Compensation orders- goes to the victim.
  • Driving ban- points on your liscence.
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Young Offenders

  • Heard in a youth court
  • No publicity
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Young Offenders- Custodial sentence

  • Age 12-21
  • Young offenders institution (age 18-20) minimum is 21 days.
  • Detention and training orders (Crime and Disorder Act 1998) from age 12 (minimum 4 months, maximum 24 months) - only for persistent offenders under age 15.
  • For very serious crime longer periods are availavle (10-13) for crimes with 14 years adult prsion sentence or aged 14-17 and cause death by dangerous driving.
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Young Offenders- Detention at her Majesty's pleasu

  • Anyone convicted of murder between the aged 10-17 must be detained.
  • This is a sentence where the offender is released when suitable.
  • If still detained at age 21 will be transferred to adult prison.
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Young Offenders- Youth rehabilitation Orders

  • Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2000
  • Requirements include:
    • Activity
    • Programme
    • Supervision
    • Attendance Centre
    • Curfew
    • Exclusion
    • Residence
    • LA Residence- put into care
    • Education
    • Drug treatment or testing
    • Mental health
    • Intoxicating treatment/ testing.
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Young Offenders- Other sentences

  • Fines- up to £250 (aged 10-13) or £1000 (aged 14-17)
  • Discharges
  • Reparation Orders
  • Reprimands and Warnings
  • Parenting Orders
  • Youth Offending Teams
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Prison Sentences for Adults- Mandatory Life Sente

  • Parliament has decided that judges must give a life sentence to all offenders found guilty of murder. The judge will set a minimum term an offender must serve before they can be considered for release by the Parole Board, usually 15 years .
  • The minimum term for murder is based on the starting points set out in Schedule 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (as amended).
  • This schedule sets out examples of the different types of cases and the starting point which would usually be applied, for example, where the murder is committed with a knife or other weapon, the starting point is 25 years or 30 years for a police officer.
  • They may be recalled to prison at any time of they are considered to be a risk to the public. They do not need to have committed another offence to be re-called.
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Prison Sentences for Adults- Discretionary Life Se

  • There are a number of crimes for which the maximum sentence for the offence, such as **** or robbery, is life imprisonment. This does not mean that all or most offenders convicted of those crimes will get life.
  • The Judge can give a life sentence but doesn't have too.
  • Parliament has made provisions that deal with how offenders who are considered dangerous or who are convicted of a secord very serious offence may be sentenced to imprisonment for life.
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Prison Sentences for Adults- Discretionary Life Se

1. Life Sentence for serious offences

A sentence of imprisonment for life must be imposed, where the following criteria are met (Section 225 Criminal Justice Act 2003):

  • The offender is convicted of a specified offence (listed in Schedule 15 of Criminal Justice Act 2003)
  • In the courts opinion the offender poses a significant risk to the public of serious harm by the commission of further specified offences.
  • The maximum penalty for the offence is life imprisonment
  • The court consideres that the seriousness of the offence justifies the imposition of imprisonment for life.
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Prison Sentences for Adults- Discretionary Life Se

2. Life sentence for second listed offence 

The court must impose a sentence of imprisonment

  • The offender is convicted of an offence listed is Schedule 15B of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
  • The Court would impose a sentence of imprisonment of 10 years or more for the offence.
  • The offender has a pervious conviction for a listed offence which he received a life sentence with a minimum term of at least 5 years or a sentence of imprisonment of at least 10 years.

UNLESS it would be unjust to do so in all the circumstances.

The Judge in sentencing will set a minimum term that the offender must serve in prison. At the end of that term they can apply to the parole board for release on licence but will only be released if no longer considered  no longer to be considered a risk to the public.

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Prison Sentences for Adults- Fixed Term

  • A fixed sentence is a sentence of imprisonment for a specific or minimum period specified by statue. The periods fixed by the statute is not able to be adjusted. A convicted person could determined at the time the sentence is handed down e.g. 3 years, 5 years
  • You only serve half in prison, the other hlaf you spend out in the community on licence- good behaviour.
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Prison Sentences for Adults- Extended Sentences

An extended sentence may be given to an offender aged 18 or over when:

  • The offender is guilty of a specified violent or sexual offence
  • The court assesses the offender as a significant risk to the public of committing further specified offences.
  • A sentence of imprisonment for life is not available or justified
  • The offender has a previous conviction for an offence listed in schedule 15B to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 or the current offence justifies an appropriate custodial term of at least 4 years.

These sentences were intorduced to provide extra protection to the public in certain types of cases where the court has found that the offender is dangerous and an extented licence period is required to protect the public from risk of harm. The Judge decides how long the offender should stay in prison and also fixes the extented licence period up to a miaximum of eight years. The offender will either be entitled to automatic release at the two thirds point of the custodial sentence or be entitled to aplly for parole at that point.

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Prison Sentences for Adults- Suspended sentences

When a court imposes a custodial snentence of between 14 days and two years (or six months in the magistrates' court), the court may choose to suspend the sentence for up to two years. This means that the offender does not go to prison immediately, but is given the chance to stay out of trouble and to comply with up to 12 requirements set by the court.

These include:

  • Doing unpaid work
  • Being subjected to a curfew
  • Undertaking a treatment programme for alcohol or drugs.
  • Being subject to a subject to a supervision requirement.

If the offender does not comply with the requirements or is convicted of another offence during the suspension period, they are likely to serve the original custodial term in addition to the sentence they get for the new offence.

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Prison Sentences for Adults- Minimum Sentences.

These are called "three stikes and you're out" provisons.

  • There is a madatory minimum sentence of 7 years for an adult who is convicted on three separate occasions of dealing in Class A drugs- section 110 Power of Criminal Courts Acts (sentencing) 2000.
  • There is a minimum mandatory sentence of three years years for anyone convicted of burglary of a dwelling for the third time- section 111 of the same Act.
  • For each sentence, court has discretion not to impose the minimum term if it considers it would be unjust having regard to the particular circumstances of the offence(s) or the offender. The court must state the particular circumstances when passing sentence.
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