Hello and welcome to this short film on sentencing brought to you by the Sentencing Council Imagine you were given the details of several different crimes How would you go about working out the right sentence for each offender How would you make sure that the victim felt that justice had been done And how would you try to make sure the offender didn’t do it again You might think about which crimes were most serious What happened to the victim Why did the offender do it Was it on the spur of the moment.
Or did they mean to do it These are the kinds of questions judges and magistrates think about every day and this short film aims to explain a bit more about how sentences are decided One of the most important things is to make sure appropriate sentences are given for each crime in other words the punishment should fit the crime To do this, judges and magistrates in England and Wales use sentencing guidelines These also help them sentence in the same way whether they’re in Newcastle Newport or Newbury Every crime and every offender is different.
And no two cases or victims are ever the same but the way in which a judge or magistrate decides the sentence is the same For each crime there is a range of sentences available and the judge or magistrates have to decide which type of sentence is right the judge or magistrates will think about how serious the offence is the more serious, the greater the sentence For example a burglar who kicked down someone’s front door and threatened them with a knife would be treated more seriously than a burglar who reached through an open window.
How offenders are sentenced in England and Wales
To steal something then there’s the harm caused to the victim. This could be physical injury like a broken arm psychological effects such as stress or the loss of possessions or money and the offender’s level of blame for example planning the offence using a weapon or targeting a vulnerable victim would all make the offender more blameworthy the judge or magistrates also think about whether the defendant already has a criminal record someone who has been found guilty of similar crimes before will be treated more harshly personal circumstances will also be considered.
For example the offender might look after dependent relatives they might have shown they are genuinely sorry or come clean and admitted they committed the crime and pleaded guilty the earlier an offender admits their guilt the better as it will save victims and witnesses the stress of going through a trial as well as saving court costs and time If an offender admits to a crime it usually means they get a lower sentence up to a third off when they admit it at the an earliest opportunity the later the guilty plea the smaller the reduction, which when you think about it.
Is a good way of getting offenders to admit their guilt sooner rather than later Judges and magistrates will also think about what sort of sentence would be most likely to change the offender’s behaviour none of us wants to become another victim of the same offender so it is important that the sentence helps stop them committing more crime in the future There are four main types of sentence the toughest, prison is used when a crime is so serious or an offender’s record is so bad, no other sentence will do.
Offenders will normally spend half their sentence in prison and the rest on licence in the community Being on licence means offenders have to obey certain rules which could include wearing an electronic tag which restricts where they can go. If they don’t follow the rules they can be sent back to prison community sentences both punish through things such as unpaid work removing graffiti and try to help people stay out of trouble through things like treatments for drug addiction this is not a soft option offenders can be made to do between 40 and 300 hours of demanding.
Work Fines are for the less severe offences and are the most common type of sentence the amount of fine is set by the court after considering the seriousness of the offence and how much money the offender has Finally we have discharges these are used in the least serious offences for which the experience of being taken to court is thought to be punishment enough But a discharge can come with conditions that that mean the offender must stay out of trouble if they commit another crime, they can be sentenced for the.