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SOC209H5 (195)
Lecture

SOC209 issues in sentencing and punishment
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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC209H5
Professor
Philip Goodman
Semester
Winter

Description
SOC209 March 11 th Issues in Sentencing and Punishment Sentencing and justifications of punishments in Canada - section 718 sets out purposes of sentencing o denouncing conduct  have severe punishment around things we believe are detestable – not proportionate to a concrete measure of harm  ex. MADD  denounce the crime – not an action that is deemed acceptable – moral grounds o deterrence  very hard to know how to deter people – increase in the severity of the penalty often does not work – not effective  severity is the weakest way to increase deterrence o incapacitation  putting somebody into a secure facility so that they are not committing crimes  doesn’t always remove crime, just moves it from one side to another o rehabilitation  forefront o making reparations  somewhat restorative justice view – offender has done harm and now needs to do something to undo that harm  “an eye for an eye”  have to make up for it o responsibility, accountability  holding offenders responsible for their actions - list gives very little guidance - how do we know what charge to place on the person - how does the judge decide the appropriate sentence - nothing in the legal code to give guidance whether what form of punishment is right for what charge o lots of discrepancies o discretion o backside: great inconsistencies across people - judges and prosecutors aren’t all that good to know who is dangerous and should be incapacitated o based on the same factors layman people would base it on o common sense things that draw on everyday things - proportionality o assign the punishment to what we feel is the harshest crime o rank crimes in order – in practise is very difficult  should individual experiences deviate from the ranking? - similarity, consistency o in reality, there is very little consistency - consecutive sentences ought not be unduly harsh - least restrictive sanction o when possible, avoid too many people in prison o most consistency applied principle o what’s the logic behind shortening sentences and decreasing punishment?  probation and parole  ways of not exploding the population in jails, etc. o 718.2(e) especially for Aboriginal offenders  judges and prosecutors are sensitive to First Nations  supposed to help in the disproportionate number of Aboriginals serving time in incarceration – did not help Aggravating Factors - sentences should be enhanced in cases of: o crimes motivated by hate o spousal and child abuse o abusing a position of trust or authority o crime committed in connection with a criminal organization - why these? Why not others? How do these come to be privileged? o political and social movements – groups have advocated for these o vulnerability of victims – most vulnerable victims = treat those offenders more seriously o denouncing crime – less about proportionality, rehabilitation, and reparations - where are the mitigating factors? o first time offenders, stable jobs, middle class, worked with law enforcement – good explanatory variables as to what sentences are handed out  plea bargaining Affect of Court and Legal Processes on Sentencing - investigative detention o those who are subject to this are more likely to be treated with more punitive sentences throughout the process o less likely to get a plea bargain - arrest, right to counsel, and pre-trial detention o often requires a warrant o arrest starts a process that sometimes leads to sentencing o the goal is to get people off the street – often involves little attention to those around them (doesn’t influence their family) o takes them out of their daily lives – under enormous pressure for a plea bargain so they can go back home o right to counsel: legal right under the Charter to legal representation – have the right to contact somebody – but not necessarily to be paid out of government funds – disproportionately likely to take a guilty plea (even if they are not guilty)  system is designed in such a way that if you insist on having a trial, it’s a lengthy and expensive process - legal aid - bail (judicial interim release) o even controlling for demographic factors, nature of the offence – those who are held on remand are more likely to plead guilty o adversarial system? - most common types of cases o proportionally very few people getting sent to prison - cas
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