Punishment Essay


Punishment is thought to be something that is painful and it essentially consists of several elements. It must be due to an offense by an offender, must be inflicted by an authority and usually entail unpleasantness towards the victim. Punishment for crime in the United States was first believed to be based on the principle of vengeance in the Old Testament. During the colonial times they actually assumed that punishment was actually a system of fetching a sinner back to the correct relationship with God. The American traditional way of corporal punishment was later abandoned in the entire systems of the prisons in the twentieth century due to the introduction of punishment that was purely based on the medical model.

Recently, there has been a raise in the number of Americans who are under correctional supervision, in jail and prison. Scholars reveal that corrections in American have been growing both in times of poor and good economic situations and also in times of rising crimes (Clear, Cole & Dean, 2013). It will be realized that principled and effective punishment for those criminals that are convicted in fact entails the use and development of various punishments between probation and imprisonment. It is also good to note that the prison discipline in United States should truly be fair and accountable. Rules and regulations that govern the prisons should be plainly regularly applied and spelt out.

It is generally believed that the federal and state objectives of punishment in America are basically the penalties or the consequences that accrue from the committed crimes. It is widely accepted that punishment is entirely meant to make sure that the offender is sufficiently chastised for the offences committed. Punishment is essentially destined to stop the offender from committing more offenses. In most cases the punishment attached to the offenders is usually severe which in turn discourages him or her from reoffending. Punishment also guards the society from dishonest and dangerous people. This is attained by keeping these people out of the streets where they are sent to jails or prisons where they decide whether they can change for an improved life. The goal here is to promote the option of rehabilitation towards the offender which is in fact believed to assist in condemning the offender’s conduct.

Punishment further makes sure that people clearly recognize the laws that need to be complied, and discourages the rest from doing similar crimes (Banks, 2005).  Punishment is geared at ensuring that the offender understands the damages associated with the crimes committed and further understand that his or her actions really affect everybody in their surroundings. The offender therefore realizes that the community around him or her disapproves the harm that they have suffered. The state and federal objective is to ensure that punishment entirely be relevant to the offender in regard to the committed crime. It is assumed that the offender goes to the federal prison if he or she commits a federal offense, goes to prison if is sentenced for a year and to the state prison for nearly all other crimes.

When a person appeals to be guilty or the court find him or her to be guilty then the judge decides the suitable sentence that he or she is awarded. Sentencing essentially refers to the action of inflicting a criminal sanction through the use of a judicial authority. It will be realized that in America a lot of offenders appear before judges so that they can be sentenced for their committed crimes. In most cases descriptions for sentencing are basically meant for felony offenses and crimes that are punishable in a period of less than a year of imprisonment. Sentencing guidelines, three strike laws and mandatory minimum sentences usually require specific sentences that nave slight consideration of factors involving the offenders and his or her victims and crimes. The federal and state systems of court have same objectives of punishment and are generally affected as a scheme. The three stroke laws have actually resulted to long term imprisonment of the offenders in both state and federal prisons.  It will further be realized that the use of parole release where parole boards are required has in turn resulted to an increased the prison releases. This has been due to the decision of the parole board by designing the discretionary parole releases.

Mandatory sentences have in turn helped in curbing the offences related drug trafficking, serious violence and use of firearms. On the other hand structured sentencing has actually helped in reducing racial and gender bias, sentencing disparities and in the achievement of truth in policymaking through connecting policies regarding sentencing to policies on corrections spending. Sentencing guidelines also help in reducing disparities and encouraging fairness in the courts’ systems. Truth in sentencing has truly helped in enhancing growth in the rate of states’ incarceration, decline in the rates of admissions and releases from prison and also in increasing the amount of time served by most of the inmates in the prison (McElreath, 2011).

Indeterminate sentencing actually entails setting open lower and upper limits on the total time an offender serves where the early release date is essentially decided by a board of parole. Determinate sentencing on the other hand purely indicates a fixed incarceration term to be served by an offender with a reduction of any good time that might have been earned when in prison (Champion, 2008). Sentencing models extend to include determinate and indeterminate sentencing, truth in sentencing, sentencing, sentencing guidelines and mandatory sentencing. Presumptive sentencing or sentencing guidelines is the most appropriate model because it enhances fairer justice system, decreases the archetypal cruelty of penalties, eliminates procedures for the early release on inmates and also reduces the judge’s discretionary command and the authorities of the parole. To conclude, the examples of presumptive sentencing models extend to include the North Carolina and the United States guidelines (Cromwell, Carmen & Alarid, 2002).






Banks, C. (2005). Punishment in America: a reference handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO.

Champion, D. J. (2008). Sentencing a reference handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO.

Clear, T. R., Cole, G. F., & Dean, R. M. (2013). American corrections (10th [student] ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Cromwell, P. F., Carmen, R. V., & Alarid, L. F. (2002). Community-based corrections (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Thomson Learning.

McElreath, D. (2011). Introduction to corrections. Boca Raton: CRC Press.