Thejudiciary is one of the key arms of the government and its keymandate is to enforce the laws. is among the measures thatare used to correct members of the society, who have broken the law.In this paper, the concept of sentencing will be discussed. The paperwill focus on the objectives of rendering punishment, effects thatsentencing has on correction systems, and the distinction betweendeterminate and indeterminate incarceration.

Objectivesof Punishment

Thejudicial system punishes offenders in order to achieve five keyobjectives. The first objective is to incapacitate offenders who areconsidered to be harmful to the members of the society or themselves(Hoskins, 2011). The objective of incapacitation is achieved when theoffender is given a punishment that involves a complete eliminationfrom the society in order to protect the vulnerable individuals aswell as groups. The most common types of punishment intended toachieve this objective include life imprisonment without parole andexecution.

Secondly,punishment is intended to deter crime and enhance security in thesociety. The objective of deterrence through the punishment ofoffenders can be achieved by forcing the criminals to change theirbehaviors or imparting fear in potential criminals (Hoskins, 2011).Members of the society who learn about the punishment that offendershave been subjected to are likely to avoid committing crimes in orderto reduce the chances of going through similar experiences. Theobjective of deterrence is founded on the theory of reinforcement.This theory holds that rewards and punishment can help people changebehaviors (Hoskins, 2011). Individuals who are able to comprehendthat the outcome of their actions is punishment will adopt behaviorsthat are consistent with the norms upheld by their communities.

Third,there are forms of punishment that are rendered, with the objectiveof achieving restitution. Restitution is pursued when there is a needto restore the victim of a given criminal to the status quo (Hoskins,2011). For example, the court may order that the offender takes careof the medical bill of an injured victim. In this case, the aim ofthe punishment is to help the victims acquire the health status thatthey had before the occurrence of the offence that was perpetrated bythe offender.

Fourth,the judicial system may render punishment with the objective ofachieving retribution. Retribution is founded on the notion that thevictim (including the society) has been harmed by the offender, whichcreates the need for the community to take revenge (Hoskins, 2011).Retribution is achieved when the punishment fits the magnitude of theoffense.

Lastly,punishment may be rendered with the objective of rehabilitating thelaw breaker. Rehabilitative forms of punishment are rendered when thejudicial system finds that there is a possibility of helping the lawbreaker become a productive member of the community (Hoskins, 2011).Examples of this type of punishment include the mandatory counseling,treatment for drug addiction, and vocational training.

Impactof on Federal As Well As the State Correctional Systems

of offenders is among the most common types of punishment that areintended to eliminate lawbreakers from the society. hasthree major effects on the correctional systems that are managed bythe states as well as the federal government. First, sentencingresults in the overcrowding of correctional facilities. For example,sentencing has resulted in over 2.4 million offenders being held in1,717 and 102 correction facilitates managed by the states and thefederal government, respectively (Audrey, 2014). The currentpopulation of offenders in the prison system is about 25 % more thanthe normal carrying capacity of the correctional facilities (Audrey,2014).

Overcrowdingresults in the second effect, which is the limitation of theadministrative functions within the correctional facilities. Itbecomes quite difficult to manage an excess number of offenders, withsome of them being violent and uncontrollable. The increase in theincidents of drug smuggling is an example of the effects ofovercrowding that makes it difficult to manage the correctionalfacilities. A study on drug smuggling within the prison systemindicated that inmates who have become addicted in correctionalfacilities range from 50 to 80 % (Besson &amp Vimont, 2016). Thepossibility of smuggling drugs is a confirmation of the difficulty ofmanaging the correctional systems due to the effect of overcrowding.

Third,sentencing results in the budgetary constraints since the amount ofmoney allocated each year cannot take care of an excess number ofoffenders. The lack of adequate resources is confirmed by the factthat the ratio of toilets to inmates is about one to 30 (Besson &ampVimont, 2016). This indicates that the available resources cannotaddress the needs of inmates who have been sentenced. The overuse ofsentencing reduces the capacity of the correctional system to achievetheir ultimate goal, which is to help offenders reform theirbehaviors.

DeterminateVersus Indeterminate

Thetwo types of sentencing are quite controversial. Determinatesentencing occurs when an offender is incarcerated for a fixed term(Pollock, Glassner &amp Krajewski, 2015). This type of sentencing iscommonly used when the court needs to consider the severity of thecrime when rendering the judgment. Therefore, the character of anindividual offender is not taken into account.

Indeterminatesentencing occurs when the offender is incarcerated for an unknownduration, but within the minimum and maximum limits set by theexisting law. This implies that the judicial system is expected todetermine the period that the offenders will be incarcerateddepending on their conduct (Pollock, Glassner &amp Krajewski, 2015).Therefore, the releasing officer has the discretion to assess theconduct of the offenders and determine when they should be set freeonce they serve a minimum sentence set by the law.

Thereare several factors that make indeterminate sentencing a betteroption compared to determinate incarceration. First, the length ofthe sentence is linked to offender’s behavior, which serves as amotivation to reform one’s conduct (Pollock, Glassner &ampKrajewski, 2015). Secondly, indeterminate incarceration addresses theissue of overcrowding in the correctional system since offenders whohave undergone successful rehabilitation can be set free. Forexample, an individual who would have been sentenced for 10 yearsunder the determinate system can be released after spending fiveyears in jail, if the indeterminate incarceration is applied. A proofof a change of conduct is adequate to justify the release ofoffenders before the end of 10 years, thus reducing congestion inprisons. Third, the use of parole boards to make sentencing decisionsunder the indeterminate incarceration system facilitates fairness inthe judicial system.


Theultimate goal of the judicial system is to enforce the law in thesociety. The judicial system aims to achieve several objectives,including the rehabilitation, incapacitation, retribution,deterrence, and restitution. These objectives lead to different typesof punishment depending on what the judicial system intends toachieve in every case presented before the court. is amongthe most common types of punishment used in the judicial system, butit affects the correctional facilities in several ways. Some of thekey effects include overcrowding, lack of adequate resources, and thelimitation of the capacity of the officers to carry out theiradministrative functions. Indeterminate sentencing is superior todeterminate incarceration because it helps the judiciary address someof the key issues (such as overcrowding) that limit its competence inthe process of rehabilitating offenders.


Audrey,W. (2014). Prison overcrowding threatens public safety and statebudget. CriminalJustice Reform.Retrieved October 5, 2016, from

Besson,C. &amp Vimont, C. (2016). Report: Drug smuggling rampant in U.S.prisons. Partnershipfor Drug Free Kids.Retrieved October 5, 2016, from

Hoskins,Z. (2011). Deterrent punishment and respect for persons. OhioState Journal of Criminal Law,8, 370-384.

Pollock,J., Glassner, S. &amp Krajewski, A. (2015). Examination theconservative shift from harsh justice. Laws,4, 107-124.