“Modern sentencing practices are influenced by five goals, which weave their way through widely disseminated professional and legal models, continuing public calls for sentencing reform.” The five goals of contemporary sentencing are Retribution, Incapacitation, Deterrence, Rehabilitation and Restoration. We are going to discuss what each goal means for sentencing criminals.
Retribution a demand for punishment based on a need for vengeance. This is the earliest known rationale for punishment. Early cultures would punish almost every offender almost immediately and without a hearing. Severe penalties like death and exile where common forms of punishment even for minor offenses in early societies. The term just deserts means the offenders sentencing holds that the offenders deserve the punishment they receive at the hands of the law and the punishment should be appropriate with the type of crime.
Incapacitation is the second goal of criminal sentencing and seeks to protect the innocent members of society from offenders who might harm them. Unlike retribution, incapacitation requires only restraint and not punishment like sending the offender to a correctional institution without imprisonment.
The third example is deterrence. When you think of deterrence, it uses the example or threat of punishment that will convince people that committing crimes is not worth the penalty. Rehabilitation is the fourth example and brings about fundamental changes in offenders and their overall behavior. The ultimate goal of rehabilitation is to reduce the overall number of criminal offenses. Rehabilitation means to return a person to their previous condition.
The final example is restoration. Restoration is a sentencing goal that seeks to address what damage was called by the offender that will make those who suffered whole again. This can range from victim’s assistance and/or supporting the victims with some form of compensations.