Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Lawrence F. Travis III
Criminal penalties are called sentences. Sentencing is the word used to describe the process by which punishments for crime are imposed. Criminal sentences can involve fines, community supervision (placing restrictions on offenders allowed to remain in society), incarceration (jail or prison), and in extreme cases, death. Sentencing is the decision about what should be done to, for, or about the convicted offender. In most cases, the sentencing authority must choose between a number of possible penalties. This choice, naturally, is influenced by the goals of sentencing. Over the years four major goals of sentencing have been identified: deterrence, incapacitation, treatment, and retribution. An additional purpose, restoration, has emerged in recent years. Alone, or in combination, these goals explain or justify the selection of sentences. The goal of deterrence is to prevent future crime by threatening punishment. Offenders are punished so that they—and others—will “think twice” about committing crimes. The theory ...