Contemporary Issues in Law - Volume 13 - Issue 3
FIVE PERSPECTIVES ON PUNISHMENT
THE ROLE OF PROPORTIONALITY IN SENTENCING REPEAT THEFT OFFENDERS
Gary Betts Senior Lecturer in Law, Coventry University
This article considers the role of proportionality in sentencing repeat offenders for offences which do not carry a mandatory minimum sentence for the second or third transgression. It is based on the results of a wider study on sentencing practice in theft cases, and considers the role of prior record at the sentencing stage, in particular the extent to which previous convictions may override proportionality constraints. It also explores the extent to which the current sentencing regime as contained in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 may have impacted on sentencing practice in relation to previous convictions.
FIXED PENALTIES FOR CARELESS DRIVING: THE DELUSION OF DETERRENCE
Susan Easton Reader in Law, Brunel Law School and Christine Piper Professor of Law, Brunel Law School
The new police powers to issue fixed penalty notices ('FPNs') for less serious instances of careless driving offences and the raising of the level of FPNs for motoring offences by £30 prompt questions about the effectiveness of the changes, notably in relation to deterrence and rehabilitation. This article examines the assumptions about deterrence in the light of research findings. However, it also addresses issues around public perceptions of punishment and wrongfulness raised by the use of FPNs for careless driving. It concludes that the key issue to consider is perceptual deterrence.
BEHIND THE RESTORATIVE VEIL: AN INSIGHT INTO IRISH REPARATION PANEL PRACTICE AND THEORETICAL PRINCIPLES
Darren McStravick Dublin City University
Irish adult reparation panels have operated within the formal criminal justice system for a number of years. They represent a post guilt finding, pre-sanction process in which participating offenders can discuss with police and probation service representatives, reparation programme caseworkers and facilitators, and community representative volunteers the circumstances of their offending behaviour. Mediation will also include reparative options in which participants can make amends for the harm that they have caused to both direct victims and community members. This article discusses the practice, procedures and restorative principles observed within this restorative model. It illustrates a number of theories identified within the practical reality of panel case management, including creative restitution, rational disorganisation and relational justice. It provides a case study of a particular reparation case example, the restorative principles employed within, and outlines a number of concerns relating to the pre-sanction procedural format. In doing so, this article provides a unique insight into an ever evolving restorative justice process.
INDETERMINATE SENTENCING:SYNTHESISING PUBLIC PROTECTION, REHABILTATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS OBLIGATIONS
Vanessa Bettinson Senior Lecturer in Law, De Montfort Universty and Gavin Dingwall Professor of Criminal Justice Policy, De Montfort University
England and Wales, like many comparable jurisdictions, has relied increasingly upon measures designed to protect the public from offenders perceived to pose a danger. Incapactitative sentencing is inherently problematic as prediction is highly unreliable and this leads to manifest injustice when those wrongly categorised are incarcerated for lengthy periods. Alternative objectives are marginalised when public protection is paramount. This is logical: if an offender will never be released, why try to rehabilitate him? Our contention is that incapacitation should not be pursued in isolation. Taking 'natural life' sentences and Imprisonment for Public Protection as examples, we develop an argument that jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights allows states to adopt incapacitative strategies only where suitable rehabilitative provision is available. As provision is chronically under-resourced at present, we contend that this jurisprudence jeopardises any strategy which is solely incapacitative. Instead, what is required is a synthesis of the (apparently distinct) objectives of protecting the rights of offenders, including the right to rehabilitation, with protecting public safety.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN WRONGS: A RIGHTS BASED APPROACH TO THE PUNISHMENT AND TREATMENT OF SEX OFFENDERS
Bernadette Rainey Lecturer, Cardiff Law School and Karen Harrison Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Hull
The treatment and management of sex offenders is largely premised on the concepts of punishment and public protection. Driven by populist punitiveness and moral panic, policies designed to manage such offenders are largely incapacitative and retaliatory. Rather than looking at punishment from this aims perspective however, this article considers the influence of human rights on the concept of punishment. By looking at the management of sex offenders through the use of pharmacotherapy and the sex offender register it considers how concepts such as consent, dignity and equality are relevant to the punishment debate.