Aims and Purposes of Criminal Law

Research Writing Assignment 1

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Research Writing Assignment 1

Aims and Purposes of Criminal Law

            Criminal law, also referred to as penal law, is the body of law that regulates social behavior disallows activities that are intimidating, destructive, or dangerous to assets, health, security, and ethical standing of the public. Criminal law is unique in that it holds a set of consequences or penalties for entities who fail to comply with its stipulations. While capital punishment is very popular, it is banned in most parts of the world. The next popular form of sanction for criminal law violators is incarceration in prison accompanied with different conditions in line with the sentence. One of the key aims of criminal law is retribution. It is fitting that criminal offenders receive some form of punishment. This is the most common aim of criminal law. Criminals have taken unacceptable advantage, or imposed unjust loss, upon others and as a result, criminal law ensures that criminals at placed at an unpleasant disadvantage to even the score. People complying with the law enjoy the right to be safe and if people violate these rules, they yield the rights awarded to them by the law (Lynch, 2009). In this way, a murderer deserves to be executed. The next purpose of criminal law is deterrence. The idea of law is to discourage individuals from engaging in unlawful activities. The intention is to inflict a substantial penalty to put off the offender (Siegel & Worrall, 2016). General deterrence is designed to dissuade the society (Hollin, 2005). In this way, the penalty for offenders discourages law-abiding citizens from committing new offenses. The third purpose of criminal law is incapacitation. In most cases, the criminal offenders are very dangerous and can cause significant danger to the public. Terrorists, sex offenders and serial killers are dangerous criminals that need to be stopped, or at the very least, restrained. The best way that the criminal justice system achieves this is through prison sentences (Lynch, 2009). The two last aims and purposes of criminal law are rehabilitation and restoration. Apart from the aforementioned objectives of criminal law, it is important to consider that they are still human beings. Therefore, criminal law is also designed to ensure that it transforms the attitudes and behaviors of previous offenders. This will also ensure that recidivism rates are lowered significantly. The state is currently struggling to reduce prison expenditure and rehabilitation emerges as an effective way of achieving several objectives simultaneously (Lynch, 2009). Lastly, after offenders have been rehabilitated, criminal law is responsible for creating the best platform for their restoration into the public arena. The objective is to fix, using state apparatus, injuries that affected the victim as well as the offender. For instance, white-collar crime affects the victims of the frauds as well the perpetrator. Restoration is ordinarily merged with supplementary goals of criminal justice (Siegel & Worrall, 2016). These last objectives are designed to achieve civil law requirements involving welfare and proper reimbursement of losses (Siegel & Worrall, 2016).

How Criminal Law Control Behavior

The criminal justice system works by placing penalties and sanctions on entities that violate its laws. The presence of sanctions alone is insufficient in ensuring conformance with the law. Manipulating the rules within criminal law to ensure deterrence only works to a certain extent. After this, behavioral change owing to the rules is limited. Another reason for this low influence of the law on behavioral change is the amount of negligence. Most of the offenders are unaware of what the law says about their actions. Even in cases where the offenders know the law, a rational process exists that makes it more appealing to engage in crime rather than comply with the laws (Chambliss, 2011). Regardless of their understanding, the situational and social situations make it challenging for offenders to make the legal choice (Siegel & Worrall, 2016). It suffices to conclude that criminal law is not an effective deterrent for criminal activity. The working assumption that criminal laws almost always influence conduct is misguided. As mentioned earlier, the issue of ignorance of the law is a probable theory. It is highly likely that the offender is unaware of the weight of the implications. Criminal law assigns responsibility for deliberate, volitional action (Lynch, 2009). More often than not, the law assumes that people can apply self-control. Several cases have been tried on the premises that the perpetrator had impaired self-control. Individuals consider their actions in a different way based on their past experiences, their immediate environment as well as other factors (Siegel & Worrall, 2016). In conclusion, criminal law is elaborate in that it combines aspects of science and art. However, the implementation of law within the social context is very challenging. Human beings are diverse in their rationality and understanding of regulations governing the society (Siegel & Worrall, 2016). Therefore, in the implementation, it is necessary to translate the theoretical into practical. The relationship between human beings and the law is very complicated. Issues concerned with rational choice, legal knowledge and the perceived net cost are important aspects that are difficult to comprehend. Their implications can be difficult to implement in the real life situation.

References

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Siegel, L. J., & Worrall, J. L. (2016). Introduction to criminal justice. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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Lynch, T. (2009). In the name of justice: Leading experts reexamine the classic article “The aims of the criminal law”. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute.

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Chambliss, W. J. (2011). Crime and criminal behavior. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE.

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Hollin, C. R. (2005). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach to explanation and prevention. Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press.

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