The Sentencing Process and the Problem of Prison
Cesare Beccaria in his book, On Crimes and Punishments, asserted that criminals usurp the liberties of the society by their criminal behavior. Hence, the society reserves the right to justly punish them for their actions. However, he held that the primary objective of punishment is serving of justice to the victims of the crime and the society and deterrence. The severity of the punishment should therefore be proportional to the crime committed (Beccaria n.pag). The 28-year jail sentence against the trio who were convicted of raping a 35-year old woman was justified. Additionally, the accompanying 48 strokes were also appropriate. Rape and accompanied sexual acts the trio forced the woman to perform were traumatizing and will continue to haunt for years to come. It was cruel and the long jail term could barely be equated justice to the victim. Therefore, the corporal punishment matched the cruelty of the crime committed and would go a long way in ensuring that justice is served in a manner that matches the brutality and cruelty of the crime committed.
In light of the report by the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prison regarding the status of America’s correctional facilities, I would distribute more resources towards rehabilitation. Rehabilitation encompasses a wide array of areas that are critical in reducing recidivism rates and ensuring that those released into the society are not hardened criminals. This includes vocational training and education for inmates, which can go a long way in ensuring that they become productive members of the society and law abiding citizens upon release. Moreover, rehabilitation encompasses areas such as healthy living and good behavior. Sexually transmitted diseases and management of contagious diseases and abuse by prison officials can reduce if the prisoners are properly educated on their rights. However, such programs will give prisoners rights and privileges that, according to Beccaria, they ought to have forgone by committing crimes (n.pag). In some cases, it would mean giving them privileges and liberties that their crimes denied others especially their victims.
Beccaria, Cesare. Of Crimes and Punishments. N.p, 1764. Available at: http://studymore.org.uk/xbec.htm