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Competition in Sentencing: The Rehabilitative Model Versus the Punitive Model

NCJ Number
Psychiatry, Psychology and Law Volume: 6 Issue: 2 Dated: 1999 Pages: 153-162
Richard G. Fox
Date Published
10 pages
Modern law allows for both rehabilitative and punitive approaches to the sentencing of offenders; this article explores the differences between these underlying models and their implications for sentencing policy, taking the law in Victoria (Australia) as a current example.
Although the treatment approach to sentencing is still significant in modern legislation, it has been seriously handicapped by two main factors: (1) The recent return to more punitive approaches to offenders; and (2) The ruling that efforts at providing treatment through sentencing are as much subject to the restraining doctrine of proportionality as is punishment. It remains a paradox that the sentencer also is acting in the interests of the offender when he/she responds to the law's insistence that court-ordered efforts at rehabilitation not be excessive. It can only be hoped that this legal constraint does not inhibit the continued development of more creative, constructive, and experimental ways of addressing crime and assisting offenders under the rehabilitative model. Treatment is the more benevolent and humane of the competing sentencing approaches, and evidence suggests that it is more cost-effective than sentencing that focuses on retribution, deterrence, and incapacitation. 46 notes


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