Are the Punishments for Crimes Fair?


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A punishment is designed to express a community’s attitude of disapproval, resentment, and oftentimes outrage. Conviction can mean punishment. Punishment requires not as much as some penalty like imprisonment, but condemnation. A pardon does nothing more than wipe out a penalty, but not the condemnation. If the defendants are truly guilty, then they truly deserve punishment. A conviction with a pardon is tantamount to an acquittal, in which case we might as well acquit, or a conviction with a pardon is not equivalent to an acquittal, which means we need to truly figure out whether the defendants deserve to be punished. There are five different types of punishments. The five are: deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution, and restitution. Deterrence punishment aims to promote special and general deterrence that is, it aims to reduce crime, either by deterring that particular criminal or by deterring all criminal behavior. Incapacitation punishment aims to make it the case that an offender, one who brings about public harm, is no longer able to be a threat to the community. Rehabilitation punishment aims to respond to the character of the criminal by re-socializing him, by teaching him how to be a productive member of society. Retribution punishment aims to rectify wrongdoing by giving the criminal what he deserves. Moral Communication is also a punishment that expresses moral condemnation of criminal behavior and aims to secure the criminal’s recognition of his own wrongdoing. Below, I will critique the five felony cases, to see what sentencing/punishment I come up with myself. After my personal opinion is made, I will then compare it to the Alabama State sentencing stature, to compare the differences.

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The first felony crime would be the rape/murder committed by Walter. Walter, has been convicted with first-degree murder. Before conviction, it show that he has a violent crime history. The description on his case was that he murdered an entire family, raping two children. It first began as a robbery, but then turned into some far worse. Upon Walter being discovered by the family, he tied them up and spent the night in their home. Throughout the night, he became more violent and destructive until he killed the family with a knife. Walter was caught weeks later. When he was questioned, he confessed his crimes but he had no remorse for his actions. Walter should be punished to the full degree for this horrible crime. I would use the Retributive Strategy in his case. He would be the death penalty for his actions. Punishment in the State of Alabama for first degree murder is life in prison (Barkow). The comparison of the two sentencings were somewhat alike. The states sentencing is life in prison, where my personal sentencing was the death penalty.

The second felony case would be the poisoning crime of Skyler. Wife Skyler, found out her husband was having an affair. She has no criminal history and has never been known to be violent. When Skyler found out her husband was having an affair, she poisoned him over the period of a week. When she was caught, she confessed her crime. Even though she did an awful thing, Skyler did show remorse in her actions. I would also use the Retributive Strategy in this case. I believe Skylar should also be punished to the full degree of life in prison. Even though she shows remorse, she still murdered her husband. Punishment for first-degree murder in the State of Alabama is life in prison (Barkow). Comparison of the two sentences where the same. My thought process regarding the sentencing of Skyler was the same as the States.

The third felony case would be the manslaughter crime of Jessie. Jessie hit a pedestrian at an intersection early one morning leaving the bar. Jessie was intoxicated when driving the vehicle. Jessie did not slow down to stop at a red light, when the pedestrian was hit. In doing this, Jessie killed the pedestrian instantly. Even though Jessie does not have a violent history of crimes, there are several DUI’s that have shown up over the years. Jessie has expressed remorse, and has begged for the family’s forgiveness for the pain that has been caused. Jessie swears to never drink again. Jessie should also be sentenced to the full punishment. Drinking and driving is already a horrible crime. With Jessie already have priors of DUI’s, it shows that there is carelessness in the subject. Not only was there driving under the influence, a person was killed by it. Though Jessie shows huge remorse and has asked the family for forgiveness, it still doesn’t change the fact that laws were broken, and because they were broken someone was killed. I would use the Rehabilitative Strategy here. I would sentence Jessie 20 years, with parole, with mandatory psychiatric help for the offender also. Jessie did commit a serious crime, but because of the prior DUI charges, it sounds like it might be an addiction that needs to be addressed. With addressing this problem, it may stop future DUI charges or possible murder. Punishment for manslaughter in the State of Alabama is 2-20 years in jail time (Barkow). The comparison of the two sentencings are very similar in regards to sentencing. I still think help is needed.

The fourth felony crime would be the stalking/rape committed by Tuco. Tuco raped a lady, after stalking her over a long period of time. Tuco stated that he never had intentions of killing the girl, so he let her go. He had never met the lady before the stalking/rape occurred. Tuco had past offenses of stalking in his criminal history. Though none of his past crimes were violent, it does show that he is dangerous in the sense of stalking. Tuco may show remorse in is actions, but that does not undo the crime he committed. I would sentence Tuco to 30-60 years in prison. I would not sentence him to life like the other three murders, because the victim was not killed. Nonetheless, what he did was still a serious crime. I would again use Retributive Strategy in this case, because even though he did not kill the victim, he still stalked and raped her. Punishment of staling/rape in the State of Alabama is 10-99 years in jail time with fines up to 60,000 dollars (Barkow). The comparison of the two sentencings are somewhat the same. The state sentencing for this crime is longer that what I sentenced.

The fifth felony crime would be shoplifting at Victoria Secret by Saul. Saul was arrested at Victoria’ Secret, for stealing lingerie. Saul has been known in the past to steal many females under garments. He has a history of this offence and this would make it his fourth one. Saul has also been tried of stealing other things such as toilet paper and cases of deodorant. Saul makes it unclear whether he feels remorse. Throughout his trial, he has shown that he is embarrassed and he refused to speak during his hearing. Even though this is considered a felony, because it involves shoplifting, I don’t think Saul should be sentenced any jail time. In this case I would use the Rehabilitative Strategy. This strategy would be used by sentencing Saul to mandatory Psychiatric facility, where he can have his problems addressed correctly. Saul would be guilty with insanity. He would still be punished, because he still committed a crime. Punishment for shoplifting in the State of Alabama would be one year to one day of jail time, with fines up to 15,000 dollars (Barkow). The comparison of these to sentencings are different in the way of, the state would send the offender to jail, where I would send him to an institution for the criminally insane.

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