In Unit 2, you connected theory to real life, showing that theory is not an abstract concept. Criminological theory has value in the criminal justice system and by extension, in society. It informs practice and can improve policy and programs. However, as you have read, the criminal justice process can be at odds with criminological theory. In fact, within the courts, some sentencing options can create unintended consequences, increasing the likelihood that a person recidivates with a new crime, relapses, or violates a condition of community supervision. Additionally, sentencing options may vary based on the type of criminal (recall these from Unit 1).
In this activity, you are going to further develop your writing skills while applying critical thinking by explaining how criminological theory can help inform sentencing options. For example, as you read, general deterrence theory has limited effectiveness on reducing crime or recidivism. Additionally, restoration is extremely difficult to use in cases of sexual assault. However, rehabilitation seems successful for nonviolent drug offenses, and specific deterrence appears to reduce recidivism.
The specific steps for this assignment are as follows and can be found in the readings for the unit, but additional Web research is also recommended:
Select 3 of the sentencing options. For reference, the sentencing options fall into the following categories: Retribution, Rehabilitation, Incapacitation, Deterrence, and Restoration.
Find a real case representing your selected sentencing options, and provide a summary of each case.
Analyze the real case, explaining how theory can help improve the sentencing option.
For example, if you know that swift and certain sentencing policies may reduce recidivism, how does theory help explain their success? Additionally, if you know that community notification for sex offenders appears to increase recidivism, how does theory explain the increase?
Summarize the benefits and consequences (both intended and unintended) of your selected sentencing options.