Proportionality in sentencing becomes feasible with victim participation, as the victims provide accurate information regarding the gravity of the crime committed. Retributive justice regards punishment that is proportionate as a morally justified response to crime. Such punishment endeavours to provide satisfaction and psychological benefits to the victim, society and the offender. This form of justice is based on the tenet that justice has been rendered when the wrong-doer has been subjected to adequate punishment. On the other hand, restorative justice emphasises the requirements of victims and offenders and does not focus upon the necessity to satisfy the rules of the law or the infliction of punishment by the community.
In this system, victims are provided with an active role in the dispute and the offenders are encouraged to undertake responsibility for their crime and to repair the harm caused to the victim (YWCA, 2014). The concentration of restorative justice is on crime and wrongdoing from the perspective of the individual or community instead of from that of the authorities. In general, the sentence imposed upon the offender is determined solely by the judge.
The court takes into consideration the following, whilst undertaking this exercise. First, the maximum sentence inflicted upon the offender will, in general, be what has been legislated for that offence. Second, whether the defendant had made a plea of guilty. In case, the defendant had pleaded in this manner, the court has the discretion to reduce the sentence. Third, the quantum of punishment inflicted in similar cases in the past. Fourth, the powers enjoyed by the court, for instance, a Crown Court is authorised to inflict a greater punishment than a magistrate’ s court.
Fifth, the presence of mitigating circumstances that could reduce the amount of punishment. Sixth, the presence of Victim Impact Reports, these being submitted by an expert. Seventh, the presence of Victim Impact Statements submitted by the victim of that crime (nidirect, 2014).
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