Law Essay on Philosophical Goals of Sentencing

Published: 2021-07-02
748 words
3 pages
7 min to read
University of California, Santa Barbara
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The main reason for sentencing criminals is to inflict pain and prevent future crimes from occurring. Once an offender faces punishment or is sent to jail, they tend to avoid repeating the mistakes (MacCormick, 2013). It also acts as a warning to those intending to commit crimes since the thought of them going to prison will scare them, therefore, they will avoid engaging in similar crimes.

Additionally, sentencing is not a form of punishment, rather it is imposed on lawbreakers to help them reform from their wrongdoings. This is also known as rehabilitation whose main aim is to ensure that the offenders go back to the society as law abiding citizens. Another philosophical goal of sentencing is to protect the innocent members of the society. When a culprit is sent to jail, they are denied the freedom of movement, therefore, they have no room to harm or threaten the peace of other citizens (MacCormick, 2013).

Types of Sentences

There are many types of sentences that a judge can pass in a court of law depending on the nature or seriousness of a crime. One of the most common types of sentence is fine. This is an amount of money that is paid to the court by the person reported to have caused a crime. A fine can be given instead of imprisonment; however, it can also be given in addition to a jail term (MacCormick, 2013). Another type of sentence is imprisonment which is also known as a jail sentence. After the judge issues a jail sentence, the suspect is taken to prison and a formal declaration that they are guilty is written against them (MacCormick, 2013).

The third type of sentence is the absolute discharge, which is the lowest level that an adult offender can get. According to this type of sentence, once an offender is found guilty, no convictions are registered against them. The case end on the same day and the convict does not have to come to court again or report to a probation officer. Conditional discharge is the fourth type of sentence which is similar to the absolute discharge in that the law breaker is not convicted even after they are found guilty.

Another type of sentence is probation where an offender is ordered by the court to do certain activities for a certain period of time. This is also known as a probation order. This order can also be combined with other types of sentences such as a conditional sentence, a fine or imprisonment (MacCormick, 2013. The sixth type of sentence is the suspended sentence where an offender is forced to follow the conditions involved in a probation order for a period of one to three years.

An intermediate sentence is where an offender serves a jail term in small bits instead of all at once. For example, according to this type of sentence, a culprit might serve a jail sentence over the weekends only. Finally, there is the conditional sentence which is also known as house arrest, where the offender serves his or her term out of jail but in strict, jail-like conditions. The offender is required to spend most or part of their time in their houses (MacCormick, 2013).

Types of Appeal

An appeal is the process where cases are looked into for the second time and the parties involved have the right to request the court to change the initial decisions made. The first type of appeal is where the defendant has the right to follow up an appeal. This is done if a certain conviction did not follow the right (MacCormick, 2013). The second is the writ of certeiorari where a higher court demands a lower court to send a certain case for it to be looked into again. Finally, there is the writ of habeas corpus which is conducted when an individual is denied a writ of cert. It also helps one to be relieved of a guilt convict.

Analysis Of The Appellate Process

For an appeal to be reviewed, an appellate must write a notice to a superior court that holds the power to review a final decision. An appellee is then required to write a response to the allegations made (MacCormick, 2013). The review then goes from a court of trial to an intermediate appellate and finally to the highest appellate court. The court only listens to an appeal if it meets the requirements.


MacCormick, N., & Weinberger, O. (2013). An institutional theory of law: new approaches to legal positivism (Vol. 3). Springer Science & Business Media.


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