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SOSC 2652 (37)
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Lecture

Courts (III): Why do we Punish?

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Department
Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 2652
Professor
Anna Pratt

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Lecture 15 Thursday January 23, 2014  1. Over­ incarceration in Canada and the Prison­Punishment Nexus  2. The Sentencing Process 3. Rationales of punishment  1. Over­ incarceration in Canada and the Prison­Punishment Nexus  ­ The public believes that the judges are not harsh enough when it comes to  sentencing ­ Canada does not imprisonment rates are not as high proportion of its population  as high as United States.  ­ Canada remains the top five western nations in terms of incarceration rates.  (Power point graph) o Our courts are not overly lenient  o Most people tend to think that our courts are not hard enough on convicted  criminals.  ­ Sentencing o The judicial determination of a legal sanction to be imposed on a person  found guilty of an offence (Canadian Sentencing Commission, 1987) 2. Sentencing Process ­ 3 main questions o In/out decisions o Type of sanction o Quantum of Sanction­ length of custody  ­ 2 Phases o Justifying Punishment – why punish? Which rationales guide the judge’s  position?  o Choosing sanction­ how much and what kind of punishment? ­ Purpose of Sentencing  o To denounce unlawful conduct o To deer the offender and other persons from committing crimes o To separate offender from society, where necessary o To assist in rehabilitation of offender o To provide reparation for harm done to victims or to the community o To promote a sense of responsibility in offender and acknowledgment ­ Fundamental Principle  o 718.1A A sentence must be proportionate to the gravity of the offences  and degree of responsibility of the offender o 718.2   ­ Traditional Rationales of Punishment (In PowerPoint) o Backwards looking (Retributive)  “An eye for an eye”  ▯this is backwards looking because you focus  on the offence that took place in the past. Guided by what had  already happened.  Only concerned with the crime that has been  committed in the past.  Vengeance. The offender is blameworthy  and deserves punishment and the punishment should fit the crime ▯   eye for an eye.  (NI4NI).   Focus on the past’ retribution; blame worthiness, eye for an eye,  proportionality, denunciation o Forward Looking (Restorative)  C
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