Feb 22, 2021
category: Education

Non-Custodial Sentences

A Community sentence is a form of the non-custodial sentence where an offender undertakes reparative activities, such as mental health treatment, rehabilitation in a rehabilitation center, or in the community. The requirements imposed by this punishment are determined by the severity of offenses, including persistent petty offenses, such as stealing goods from a shop. This issue may warrant a punishment of unpaid work of about 40 to 80 hours in the community, while a person who commits a crime of higher standard, for instance, domestic theft, for the first time may be punished for approximately 150-300 hours of unpaid work.

The other type of non-custodial sentence is deferred sentence and this approach implies a situation when the court defers a sentence to at most six months in order to review offender’s behavior. An offender is monitored by an assigned officer who prepares reports during the sentence. For example, an offender who fought another person may be put on a deferred sentence to determine if it was the influence of alcohol that led to the offense.

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Custodial Sentences

A custodial sentence of 12 months or more requires that the offender serves half of the term sentence in prison as long as they are not termed dangerous and the other half is based on license requirement. The latter refers to taking the offender to a rehabilitation center for management of anger, drug abuse, or other relevant rehabilitation activities depending on the offense committed. For instance, an individual who abuses drugs and then steals from the family may be sentenced to 2 years in which the first half will be spent in custody and the other in a drug abuse rehabilitation setting.

A suspended sentence of imprisonment is similar to that of imprisonment but, in this case, it involves the period from 6 months to 2 years based on petty crimes where one is assigned required activities to undertake in the community under observance. For example, if an individual is caught driving under the influence of alcohol, one may be sentenced for less than a year and be put on probation for that period, and if he or she does not commit another offense during the sentence time, one is can be free.

Lastly, intermittent custody is applied where imprisonment does not exceed 65 weeks, while days of custody should not exceed 180 days. In this case, the offender is released for probation on a temporary basis through his/her consent. The option does not apply to either sex offenders or burglars. Such a form of a sentence involves a temporary release for the purpose of probation that is given to the offenders in light of education, employment activities, or caregivers. For example, a full-time caregiver may be temporarily released so as to fulfill his/her caregiving obligation in the community.

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The Impact of Policy on Sentencing (With Examples)

The policy has given certain offenders a second chance of enjoying their time out of prison walls if they prove to be law-abiding before their sentence is finally determined. The period of the sentence defines the amount of time one is permitted to carry out community activities. In accordance with the offense policy, for example, only those not categorized as dangerous are allowed to serve half of the sentence in the prison and the other in the community. The policy also allows a second chance to the offender, similarly to the case of a deferred sentence. In this respect, the offender is then allowed to undertake a requirement in the community and if no other offense is committed in the time stipulated, the sentence is withdrawn and the person regains back his freedom.

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The Effects of Imprisonment on an Offender and Their Family

The loss of time and resources is the effect of imprisonment to the offender in regard to Section 189(1) (a) of the Criminal Justice Act (2003). The offender is sentenced to carry out community activities, including working without payment, and this issue means the valuable amount of time and energy is lost for a person. This time would have been purposed for self-development and provision for the family. As a result, the family will face financial constraints. For instance, family members may have no opportunity to pay a house rent, while children might be sent home due to school fee arrears causing also psychological stress to the parties involved. Section 186 (2) of the Criminal Justice Act (2003) states that a person will be held in prison intermittently. In this regard, an individual is likely to encounter the loss of freedom and companionship because most of one’s friends will not see any benefit of associating with such a person. The family will suffer from low self-esteem due to the embarrassment and stigma they will experience from the community. The feelings of relatedness will also be disrupted in these circumstances in spite of that the offender will remain part and parcel of their family unit.

On the other hand, section 212(2) and (3) of the Criminal Justice Act (2003) has a beneficial impact on both offender and their family. To illustrate, this part of the Act entails the treatment of a person suffering from alcohol addiction. In this case, the individual would be made to be more responsible to him/herself, to the family, and the community at large. Specifically, the family will be more than willing to take him/her to the authorities so that they can help him/her to be a better person. In most cases, those suffering from the alcohol and drug abuse addiction cease being providers and end up as dependents, and by the sentencing, the ruling that they ought to be taken for the treatment of their addiction brings about a positive impact.

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