Philosophical Orientations That Guide Decision Making About Sentencing


In the 1970s, there was a movement to enact mandatory sentencing laws, which forced judges to give fixed sentences for specific crimes. Critics of such laws argue that each criminal case is unique and that mitigating factors such as the offender’s age, background, criminal history, mental health, and many others should be considered in context.

In this Assignment, you write a paper that provides the opportunity for you to demonstrate your understanding of philosophical orientations and theories related to sentencing and sanctioning offenders. Begin by reading the case study found in the document, Criminal Justice Case Studies: Corrections, Week 3. Pay particular attention to how the offender’s mitigating factors may influence your approach to sentencing and sanctions.

Submit a 950- to 1,050-word paper in which you address the following:

  • What biological, psychological, or social factors could be used to explain the case study offender’s criminal background? What theories might account for the offender’s behavior? (250 words)
  • How would you sentence the offender for the crimes committed? (450–550 words) Be sure to address:
    • What philosophical orientation(s) would guide your decision making about sentencing?
    • What mitigating factors and/or aggravating circumstances would you consider when deciding on sentencing
    • What type of sentence would you recommend and why?
    • What sanctions would you recommend and why?
  • Do you think the offender is likely to reoffend after completing their sentence? Why or why not? Support your argument with evidence. You may also incorporate relevant professional experience. (250 words)

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