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answers to questions from Feb28th

6 Pages
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Department
Woodsworth College Courses
Course Code
WDW101Y1
Professor
Doob

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28 February 2011
1. Using specific research findings, comment on the view that it is difficult to know what
sentencing policies the public favours.
Every report has been consistent in finding that the Canadian public believe the
justice system to be too lenient. However they are not very consistent in regards to
sentencing policies. There are confusion and contradictory opinions about how
sentencing should be. As reported in the Canadian journal of criminology and
criminal justice, the public seems to support the restorative sentencing objectives of
promoting a sense of responsibility in the offender and securing reparation for the
crime victim. But it was also found that the public strongly supports mandatory
sentencing even being aware of the danger of an absolute mandatory sentence.
People presumably also support multiple purposes of sentencing which depend on
the nature of the offence and the offender being sentenced. Also the purposes seem
to changes when it comes to minor offences, but in conclusion the attitudes towards
sentencing have changes from punitive to restorative. As discussed in class, when
people are asked to think more about the aspect of the case, they’re more likely to
agree with the sentence handed down
The issue of sentencing is clearly related to the perception of the justice system in
general, people have less confidence in the courts. Also people tend to always ask for
imprisonment because they believe it is the only sentence which is guaranteed to be
carried out. But also when asked, most Canadian preferred to invest in non-prison
sanctions or prevention than to invest in more prisons. This makes it difficult to
understand what the public really favours.
2. When the Parliament of Canada legislated purposes and principles of sentencing, did
that legislation clarify the manner in which sentences should be determined?
No it did not. And that is why we still have a problem in our sentencing system. The
way the purposes and principals have been laid out in section 718 of the criminal
code leave the judge to chose among what was listed. This may explain why
sentencing changes from one judge to another
The court of appeal of Alberta suggested 5 sentencing truths one of the most
controversial subjects, both in theory and practical application is sentencing/ it is
simply not true that all judges would agree on a given case even if they had all the
facts/ judge shopping does exist/ without uniformity in sentencing a lot of the
purposes are not attainable / if courts do not act and the public confidence
diminishes, then parliament will
However compared to prior to 1996, the legislation gave even less guidance in this
regard. But we need to keep in mind that when assessing what the public wants we
should ask whether the view of the public might be affected by knowledge of the
impact of certain policies
www.notesolution.com
3. Many of the recent (i.e., since 2006) set of legislative proposals that were tabled in
Parliament appear to have been designed to increase the punishments handed down to
offenders. Can this approach be reconciled with the statement regarding proportionality
of sentences to the offence and offenders responsibility (s. 718.1)?
4. Section 718.1 of the Criminal Code says that sentences should be proportionate to the
seriousness of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender. The Code also
indicates that judges are required to take into consideration the views of victims on the
appropriate sentence that should be handed down. What are the challenges of
reconciling these two considerations?
Taking into consideration the view of the victim is principal of restorative justice.
But as mentioned in lecture, the victim impact statement is relatively rarely given
and those who make one expect it to have an impact on the sentencing. In either
way, this possibility for the victim doesnt seem to satisfy people with the criminal
justice system. The purpose of this statement ultimately is in the hand of the judge
But reconciling these two is hard, because if we take into consideration to much the
statement of the victim, (either it would be good or bad) it may impact the purpose of
sentencing the offender proportionally. The offence may deserve a certain
sentencing, but the victims may express feeling of forgiveness and this may not
result in a proportional sentence (the contrary can also happen/ a victim who is not
forgiving)
Also we can take for granted the level of knowledge and understanding of the victims
the sentencing system in Canada, judges themselves have problems with it! The way
they see the situation is tainted and not objective.
5. A poll reported by the Globe & Mail found that 65% of Canadians agreed with the
statement When lawmakers set mandatory minimum sentences, they are getting tough
on crime and sending a message to criminals. On another question, 55% agreed with
the statement A person who commits a relatively minor crime may be punished too
severely because of mandatory minimum sentences. Finally, 62% agreed with the
statement that Long prison sentences are the most powerful way to reduce crime.
Imagine that you are advising a thoughtful politician who was interested in research
evidence. How would you suggest that the politician should respond to these findings,
and how should they be taken into account in determining sentencing policy in Canada?
The politician should keep in mind that the public does know as much as he thinks
about the sentencing system. Their opinion and point of view are very influenced by
the media. Also just by these 5 the politician should realize that the public has
conflicting view about sentencing. The fact that they agree strongly with mandatory
sentences and yet think that its not fair and too sever for other types of crime,
should a lack of uniformity among the public
The politician should also keep in mind to qualify these findings according the
context in which the respondents answered. Also further question should be asked
and specify the circumstances, because people ten dot change their judgments ounce
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Description
28 February 2011 1. Using specific research findings, comment on the view that it is difficult to know what sentencing policies the public favours. Every report has been consistent in finding that the Canadian public believe the justice system to be too lenient. However they are not very consistent in regards to sentencing policies. There are confusion and contradictory opinions about how sentencing should be. As reported in the Canadian journal of criminology and criminal justice, the public seems to support the restorative sentencing objectives of promoting a sense of responsibility in the offender and securing reparation for the crime victim. But it was also found that the public strongly supports mandatory sentencing even being aware of the danger of an absolute mandatory sentence. People presumably also support multiple purposes of sentencing which depend on the nature of the offence and the offender being sentenced. Also the purposes seem to changes when it comes to minor offences, but in conclusion the attitudes towards sentencing have changes from punitive to restorative. As discussed in class, when people are asked to think more about the aspect of the case, theyre more likely to agree with the sentence handed down The issue of sentencing is clearly related to the perception of the justice system in general, people have less confidence in the courts. Also people tend to always ask for imprisonment because they believe it is the only sentence which is guaranteed to be carried out. But also when asked, most Canadian preferred to invest in non-prison sanctions or prevention than to invest in more prisons. This makes it difficult to understand what the public really favours. 2. When the Parliament of Canada legislated purposes and principles of sentencing, did that legislation clarify the manner in which sentences should be determined? No it did not. And that is why we still have a problem in our sentencing system. The way the purposes and principals have been laid out in section 718 of the criminal code leave the judge to chose among what was listed. This may explain why sentencing changes from one judge to another The court of appeal of Alberta suggested 5 sentencing truths one of the most controversial subjects, both in theory and practical application is sentencing it is simply not true that all judges would agree on a given case even if they had all the facts judge shopping does exist without uniformity in sentencing a lot of the purposes are not attainable if courts do not act and the public confidence diminishes, then parliament will However compared to prior to 1996, the legislation gave even less guidance in this regard. But we need to keep in mind that when assessing what the public wants we should ask whether the view of the public might be affected by knowledge of the impact of certain policies www.notesolution.com
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