answers to questions from Feb28th

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Woodsworth College Courses

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
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