Discuss Factors That Affect Sentencing Decisions, Including the Purposes of Punishment and the Role of Victims.

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Judges and magistrates must consider a wide variety of factors when determining a sentence for an offender. Primarily, the sentence must coincide with the statutory guidelines e.g that set out in the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW), and the judicial guidelines that set precedent for all judges and magistrates in the state. Within this legislation are the purposes for which a sentence may be imposed, types of penalties, minimum/maximum sentences and mandatory sentences. The purposes of sentencing are set out in the Crimes (Sentencing Procedures) Act 1999 (NSW) and fundamentally include deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation and incapacitation as the purposes by which a judge may impose a sentence. Deterrence intends to…show more content…
Incapacitation makes the offender incapable of committing further crimes due to their potential to further harm the community and as means of recognising the harm done to victims/the community. It includes license cancellation, home detention and terms of imprisonment. Judges will consider which one or more of these purposes of punishment are applicable to the case they are taking on and will impose a sentence based on which seems the most suitable to the nature of the offence. Other factors that a judge/magistrate must consider in sentencing are those that are aggravating and/or mitigating. Aggravating factors include the nature of the offence – was it violent, with the involvement of weapons or cruelty, was harm inflicted, was it motivated by hatred or prejudice and was it committed in company? Was the victim vulnerable, targeted due to occupation and/or was there multiple victims? Did the offender abuse a position of authority entrusted to them and/or do they have prior convictions? If any of these circumstances are present in the offence, the offender’s sentence will be more serious. Mitigating factors deal more with the nature of the offender – are they of good character without prior convictions? Are they youthful or
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