As a society we expect to punish those to do not abide by the laws that society goes by. When someone has committed a crime or broken the law he or she need to be held accountable. The only way we can truly punish an individual is by taking away their freedom through incarceration. I
ncarceration is described as removing an individual from society and placing them into an institution where they are unable to make choices for themselves. There are four main goals of imprisonment: deterrence, incapacitation, retribution, and rehabilitation. (Allen & Simonsen, 2001, p. 47)
In order to keep individuals from committing crimes jails or prisons are used to deter crime; by taking away a person’s freedoms and placing them in unpleasant conditions. For the individual the experience of being in jail will prevent them from future criminal activities out of fear being sent back to prison. In addition, for the community taking the person out of society we are able to deter future criminal acts from occurring for periods of time.
Through the use of incapacitation, we are able to deter further criminal acts from occurring. The main difference between incapacitation and deterrence would be that; incapacitation is the physical removal of an individual and deterrence is threat of punishment upon an individual. For example, the Three Strike Sentencing Law a method to deter crime. The Three Strikes law was meant to dramatically punish repeat offenders.
A felony charge is considered a strike, alike in baseball three strikes and you’re out, when the third strike occurs the offenders faces a minimum of 25 years to life in prison. (San Diego Office of the Public Defender , 2018) An example of incapacitation, would be the Juvenile Awareness Programs. For example, the program is for at risk juvenile offenders while in the program the teens stay overnight in the prison. This gives them an idea of what will happen to them if they keep participating in bad behavior, skipping school, and disobeying their parents.
The next goal is retribution, which is for the victims and the community. According to Hammurabi’s code, an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. (Hammurabi, 2008) This is where the criminal justice system steps in. The system in place to reprimand those who have harmed the innocent, and disregarded the law.
For example, if a loved one is killed by another the family wants the killer to pay for taking their loved one’s life and prevent him or her from doing it to someone else. As for the community members who abide by the law they should be protected from offenders and expect officials to remove and protect them from criminals.
The last goal rehabilitation which is the idea that through programs offered by the prisons they can help offender reintegrate back into society. For example, a drug addict is serving time for attempting to buy drugs from an undercover. While serving his sentence the offender is offered to participate in “alcohol and drug addiction programs”, as well as “educational opportunities and job-training programs”. (Penn Wharton Univeristy of Pennsylvania , 2017)
In conclusion, the purpose of incarceration is to protect community members from the offender, to deter crimes and future crimes, and through serving time the offender participated in self-discovery and is able to return to society through the use of prison programs.