The justice system is not effectively meeting the four principles of sentencing, which are punishment, deterrence, protection of the public and the reformation and rehabilitation of the offender. The offenders need to go through a stiffer system to be ensured that they meet all four principles. For this to occur sentences must be long enough for individuals to reflect the serious consequences of their intended acts and rehabilitation should be mandatory.
Melanie Carpenter was abducted and stabbed to death twenty-five times and sexually assaulted by Fernando Ojaie who was released by the correctional services after serving two-thirds of his sentence. From this example, we see that the goal of punishment, which is to deter other criminals from re-offending, is not very effective. We also see that you cannot change someone’s behaviour quickly. Statistics show that 78% of convicted murderers, who are punished, murder again, so why release them? The justice system should propose harsher punishments in order for it to be a more serious deterrent.
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The key to safety is preventing crime. In order to accomplish this, we need to distinguish between those offenders who need to be separated from society and those who could be better managed in the community. For example, a convicted paedophile such as Mr Fredericks who attacked children of either sex virtually every time he had the opportunity is not someone you want in your community. This is a person who is a threat to public safety and should be incarcerated. On the other hand, a petty thief can live in a halfway house where he lives in a law-abiding lifestyle in the community. Incarceration should in most cases be used only when public safety requires it. We should use alternatives to incarceration if safe and more effective community sanctions are available.
More effort should be made to rehabilitate the offender rather than gain revenge. Gaining revenge does not provide us with fewer criminals in society, but it just seems to be creating more. As stated before 78% of convicted murderers, who are punished, murder again, therefore giving them lengthy harsh sentences is not enough. Placing an inmate in jail where education and skills training can sometimes be difficult to access is almost and assurance that the individual will re-offend. The implementation of education programs may be of assistance in correcting criminal behaviours. Mandatory treatment should be forced upon the offenders because now no form of rehabilitation is being forced on criminals; criminals can deny treatment.
In order to effectively meet the four principles of the justice system, changes need to be made. The justice system needs to evaluate each offender’s needs in order for them to become a productive member of society. No one should be ignored in the process of creating a better society. Punishment should be harsh and rehabilitation must be mandatory, while public safety is also kept in mind. There is no one perfect solution but ways need to be explored for the justice system to be efficient.
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