The state and federal levels have objectives of punishment that have similarities and differences. Crimes punished federally are mainly more severe and on a larger scale than crimes punished by the states. One aspect remains consistent between the state and federal levels, “If the purpose of punishment is to correct, the punishment must adequately match the reasons why the person committed the crime” (Seiter, 2011, p. 16). Cesare Beccaria, who is viewed as the founder of the Classical School of criminology, was the first to suggest the link between crime causation and punishments. As a society, we believe that punishment for breaking the law is advisable. We even use punishment to teach our children right from wrong at a young age. Punishment helps to maintain moral order in society.
The main objective of the state is to rehabilitate the offender and reform the offender to return them to society better able to avoid committing further crimes. Recidivism may not be the most solid measure of success for rehabilitation, but remains the most examined and used. The federal system processes a majority of crimes that are felonies, which means that the crimes are serious, resulting in tougher punishments and longer prison terms. Although the crimes are serious, the federal level must ensure safe and humane imprisonment facilities. The federal prison system also offers many programs to offenders to improve themselves, education being the most popular that could also help to reduce recidivism.
Sentencing affects the state and federal corrections systems because the inmate population will increase, funding issues arise, and limitation of space among others. If the judge sent the offenders to a rehabilitation center or alternative punishment, the prison population will not be affected. For the state, non-incarceration sentences include economic sanctions, and probation. On the opposite side of this, once a crime hits the federal level these types of punishments are not much of an option.
Determinate and Indeterminate Sentencing
For sentences to incarceration, the U. S. criminal justice system uses two primary models; determinate and indeterminate sentencing. Indeterminate sentences combine decisions by judges and a later decision by a release authority to decide time served by the offender. During sentencing, the judge will sentence the offender with a minimum and maximum amount of time to be served, for example 10-15 years. After serving the minimum amount of time, offenders may be eligible for release. If a parole board does not grant parole, the offender may be required to serve the maximum sentence. The Reformatory Era brought the concept of rehabilitation and the preparation of inmates back into the community.
Determinate sentences are simply fixed terms on imprisonment. The offender is eligible for release following completion of time served. The case is not reviewed, and the offender is not eligible for release. Determinate sentences were used through the eighteenth century here in America. The sentencing judges during this time had a considerable amount of discretion in sentencing the offender. The concept of “good time” was a reform that followed years later. Inmates were able to earn time off their sentence by showing good behavior and an attempt at self-reform. The good time concept is