“The prison are overcrowded so it would be far better to impose community sentences”
Critically discuss this statement and examine the circumstances in which a court might choose to impose a community sentence.  25 marks
Sentencing is given when an accused has pleaded guilty or has been found guilty at either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. The role of the courts is to then decide what sentence should be imposed on the offender. The criminal Justice Act 2003 empowers the courts to impose community sentences which include community punishment orders, community rehabilitation orders, curfews, attendance centre or supervision orders. Below will be the discussion about what are the best circumstances where a court might choose to impose a community sentence.

A community service order requires the offender to do unpaid work in the community. The offender must be aged 16 years or above it. The court are not allowed to give community punishment order for offenders aged below 16. This punishment which is a non custodial sentence requires offenders to carry out unpaid work of between 40 and 240 hours for the benefit of the community. The aim of this sentence is to make sure the offender pays for the crime that had been done by doing service for the community. However, this sentence is not suitable for dangerous and persistent offenders which could harm the public.

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Community Rehabilitation Order replaced probation order and applies for the offenders who are 16 years and above. This non custodial sentence requires the offenders to be placed under the supervision of a probation officer or a youth offending service officer which is for offenders under 18 to make sure the offenders will be assisted to be better and to stop doing crimes.The period of this sentence is not less than 6 months and not more than 3 years. Basically this order is known to rehabilitate the offender and to prevent the offender from committing crime again which will automatically protect the public from being harmed.
Community punishment and rehabilitation order which replaced the combination order involves supervision for a period between 1 and 3 years and additional of community work for 40 to 100 hours which will be decided by the judge based on the crime done by the offender.
The aims of sentencing that had been met by giving community sentences is able to reform and rehabilitate the offenders. The main reason to reform and rehabilitate the offender is so that the offender changes his behaviour and does not offend again in the future. The offender is usually given a light sentence so that he/she will learn from the lesson from the sentence given.Besides that this is the main aim when sentencing young offenders to ensure that he or she is reformed. The other aim of sentencing that had been achieved by giving community sentences is made the offenders to make reparation to the victims.This is achieved because, when an offender is doing community work,it shows how the offender regrets his/her previous crime and the victim will feel better because the victim realised how the offender regrets his/her crime.

The advantages of this community punishment order is the offender will not be spending time with other criminals but will be serving for the community which will help the offender to improve his/her attitude.Besides that, a high profile individual such as a singer might be sentenced by the judge to perform a free concert for certain charity events at his residential area.This will help the offender to realise his/her own self worth.

The drawbacks of community service is the offender might not learn the lesson from his/her previous action because community service is not as strict as being sentenced in prison. In prison the offender will not be allowed to go anywhere meanwhile doing community service only uses up the offenders free time and not restricting the offender to commit crime again. This is a great drawback because this might encourage the offender to commit the crime again which might be more harmful from his/her previous crime.
However, if the offender failed to serve the community sentences, the offender will be sentenced punishment which might be severe for the offender. The most last preferable option will be sentenced to imprisonment. A custodial sentence involves imprisonment for adults aged 21 and above and detention at a young offender institution for young offenders aged below 21. The adult offender will be prisoned. •A term of imprisonment is the most severe level of punishment that may be delivered by a judge or magistrate. However, for most offences, there is no minimum term imposed but only a maximum. Judges and Magistrates are given the discretion to decide on the minimum term that an offender has to serve.There are also certain offences where a minimum sentence is compulsory such as for domestic burglary.
There are pros of imposing imprisonment sentence.Public will feel safe and will feel being protected from harm since the offender is prisoned. Other than that, the offender get to rehabilitate and improve his/her attitude.
The cons for custodial sentencing are ables the offender to learn new tricks in prison from other existing offenders. In addition, the opportunities after prison are limited for the offenders.The offenders might not get the chance to start a new life with a legal work to raise their family. Last but not least, non violent offenders are put in prison which will make them to be violent because of the influence of violence offenders.

As a conclusion, the statement in the question might not be accurate because serious crime offenders deserves to be sentenced in prison and not be given community service.However there are both advantages and disadvantages of giving community work or imprisonment fr offenders. Community sentence will just be perfect for not serious offence and not for serious offence. The only way to overcome the problem of prison being crowded is government should build for prisons and not by deciding to impose lighter sentence which could increase the crime rate in the country.


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