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PSS351 Criminological Perspectives In Punishment Assignment Sample SUSS Singapore

This course will explore the history and development of punishment in Criminology. We’ll consider physical corrections, social control measures such as bail or incarceration; informal probation schemes that rely on home sentences instead – all this to understand how different forms have changed over time depending upon where they were used (for example Latin American countries tend not to use jails). Theoretical perspectives on punishment will also be explored.

A major focus of the class will be to better understand the purpose of punishment from a criminological perspective. To what extent is punishment about retribution, incapacitation, reform, or rehabilitation? How do different rationales for punishment play out in terms of actual punishments that are meted out? We will explore these issues by looking at different case studies from around the world.

Through this course, students will gain a greater understanding of how punishment has been used throughout history and how it is currently being used in different parts of the world. They will also develop a critical perspective on the various purposes of punishment, and how these purposes are often in tension with one another.

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Assignment Activity 1: Examine the content of the main schools of criminology

Criminology is the scientific study of crime and criminals. It includes the study of criminal behaviour, motivations, and causes of crime. Criminology also encompasses the study of victims of crime and the social impact of crime.

The main schools of thought in criminology are psychological, sociological, biological, and critical theories. Each school approaches the study of criminology from a different perspective, with different explanations for why crimes are committed and how they can be prevented. 

The psychological school explores the mind of the criminal to understand why they commit crimes. This approach examines factors such as personality disorders or mental illness that may contribute to criminal behaviour. The sociological school looks at how society shapes criminals and crime. This approach considers the role of social structures, such as poverty or racism, in crime. The biological school focuses on the physical causes of crime, such as genetic predisposition or brain damage. The critical theory school looks at criminology from a political perspective, with a focus on how the criminal justice system perpetuates inequality.

Assignment Activity 2: Appraise existing sentencing options from a criminology perspective

When it comes to sentencing, several different options can be considered from a criminology perspective. Some of the most common include incarceration, community service, probation, and fines. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, which need to be carefully considered before coming to a decision.

Incarceration is often seen as the most severe punishment, as it deprives offenders of their liberty. This can be an effective deterrent for serious crimes, as it removes the offender from society and makes it difficult for them to re-offend. However, prison can also be a breeding ground for crime, with many inmates becoming involved in gangs and violence. There is also evidence that lengthy prison sentences can increase the likelihood of reoffending, as offenders often struggle to readjust to life outside of prison.

Community service is often seen as a more constructive alternative to incarceration, as it allows offenders to give something back to the community. This can be an effective way of rehabilitating offenders and helping them to reintegrate into society. However, community service can also be seen as a soft option, as it does not involve any real punishment for the offender.

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Assignment Activity 3: Analyse the ‘four pillars’ of sentencing about penology

Four pillars of sentencing are used in penology: retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and incapacitation. Each pillar has its own set of goals that guide the sentence imposed for a particular crime.

The goal of retribution is to punish the offender for the harm they have done. The goal of deterrence is to prevent future crime by punishing offenders and by showing them the potential consequences of their actions. The goal of rehabilitation is to help offenders become law-abiding members of society. And the goal of incapacitation is to protect society from criminals by keeping them locked up or otherwise unable to commit crimes.

Each of these pillars has its strengths and weaknesses. For example, retribution may seem like a simple way to sentence offenders, but it doesn’t always effectively deter future crime. Similarly, rehabilitation may be difficult to achieve and may not always work, but it can be more effective in the long run than other sentencing options.

The best way to sentence offenders depends on the particular case and the goal of the sentence. Sometimes, one pillar may be more important than the others. In other cases, a combination of pillars may be necessary to achieve the desired result.

Assignment Activity 4: Leverage criminology and penology theories to formulate approaches to post-conviction responses

Several different criminology and penology theories can be used to formulate approaches to post-conviction responses.

One theory, deterrence theory, suggests that the threat of punishment will deter people from committing crimes. Another theory, rehabilitation theory, suggests that offenders can be reformed and returned to society. And yet another theory, retribution theory, suggests that offenders should be punished to satisfy the need for justice.

Each of these theories provides some insight into how best to respond to convicted offenders. Deterrence theory suggests that harsh punishments should be imposed to deter others from committing crimes. Rehabilitation theory suggests that efforts should be made to reform offenders and return them to society. And retribution theory suggests that offenders should be punished according to the seriousness of their crimes.

Which of these approaches is best will likely depend on the specific circumstances of each case. In some cases, deterrence may be the most effective approach. In other cases, rehabilitation may be more appropriate. And in still other cases, retribution may be the only appropriate response.

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Assignment Activity 5: Judge between the aims of sentencing in any given case

There can be many aims of sentencing in any given case, but three key ones are retribution, deterrence, and rehabilitation.

Retribution is the idea that an offender should be made to suffer as a way of making up for the harm they have caused. Deterrence is the idea that punishing offenders, will stop others from committing crimes. Rehabilitation is the idea that by helping offenders to change their ways, they will be less likely to commit crimes in the future.

These are not mutually exclusive goals – often, they can all be achieved together. For example, a sentence might include both punishment and rehabilitation (such as prison with counselling/therapy programs). Or a sentence might aim to punish an offender while also deterring others (such as a heavy fine).

It is up to the sentencing judge to decide which aims are most important in any given case and to tailor the sentence accordingly. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to sentencing – each case is different and must be considered on its own merits.

Assignment Activity 6: Implement criminological theories in addressing different post-conviction needs

Several criminological theories could be used to address different post-conviction needs. Some of the most commonly used theories include deterrence theory, rehabilitation theory, and retribution theory.

Deterrence theory is based on the idea that criminals will be deterred from committing crimes if they know that they will face punishment. This theory can be used to advocate for harsher punishments to dissuade criminals from committing future crimes. Rehabilitation theory is based on the idea that criminals can be rehabilitated and returned to society as law-abiding citizens. This theory can be used to argue for more lenient sentences to provide inmates with the opportunity to reform their behaviour. Retribution theory is based on the idea that criminals deserve to be punished for their crimes. This theory can be used to support harsher punishments to exact justice on behalf of the victim.

Each of these theories has its strengths and weaknesses, and it is up to the individual to decide which theory they think is most appropriate for addressing post-conviction needs. However, all of these theories can be used to develop effective post-conviction policies and programs.

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Assignment Activity 7: Illustrate existing and emerging trends in crime and penology

There are several emerging trends in crime and penology that merit attention.

One trend that is particularly concerning is the increasing use of technology by criminals. As technology evolves, so too does the ability of criminals to commit crimes using new methods, such as cybercrime.

Another trend worth noting is the increasing number of incarcerated women. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of women being incarcerated, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. This raises important questions about the best way to rehabilitate female offenders and protect society from their criminal behaviour.

Finally, it is worth noting that there has been a shift towards favouring rehabilitation over punishment in recent years. This shift is evidenced by the increasing use of alternatives to incarceration, such as restorative justice and therapeutic courts. This trend is likely to continue as society becomes more aware of the importance of rehabilitation in reducing crime.

Assignment Activity 8: Discuss the appropriateness and quality of existing post-conviction responses

The appropriateness and quality of post-conviction responses vary drastically depending on the severity of the crime and on how well the defendant’s lawyer presents the case. In many instances, post-conviction responses fall short of what is needed to prove innocence or have charges overturned.

In some cases, evidence that could clear a defendant is not considered by the court because it was not presented during the original trial. This can be due to a lack of funds for a proper defence, ineffective legal assistance, or even corruption within the criminal justice system. When this happens, it’s often up to concerned citizens and groups like Amnesty International to bring public attention to these miscarriages of justice and put pressure on lawmakers to take action.

In other cases, a defendant may have strong evidence of their innocence but are unable to get a new trial because the rules for post-conviction relief are so restrictive. For example, in the many US states the only way to get a new trial is if there is new evidence that was not available at the time of the original trial. This can be incredibly difficult to obtain, especially if the original trial was many years ago.

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