Literature Review Assignment: Theft And The Punishment (Term Paper Sample)
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Theft and Punishment
Theft And Punishment
Punishment for theft aims at deterring member of the community from engaging in the vice. There are several factors that determine the severity of the punishment, and they include whether the offender is a first timer or a repeat offender. Often, the latter party receives a harsher punishment that the earlier. The punishment ranges from small fines for the beginners and a long jail term for repeat offenders. The value of the stolen item also determines the punishment that the thief gets while the history of the offender also contributes significantly to the sentencing. Nevertheless, a first-time offender receives a lenient punishment in comparison to a second time offender who carries out a theft of the same nature. A question arises as to the impact of the lenient punishment of the first-time thieves. It seems that this lot is out to try a new way of making money. This is not the best option for making money even if all other means results in a failure. Punishment to the first-offenders should be strong enough to send a clear message to those who might think of engaging in theft. Therefore, it is outright that lenient punishment for first-time thieves encourages the members of the society to engage in the vice.
Sometimes the law creates an opportunity for the low-scale offenders to have leniency when they agree to cooperate. According to Ingram (2013), offenders usually enter a plea bargaining where the prosecutor promises them a lenient sentence if they agree to be honest and give details about a crime. In many times, such an offense entails a felony where the police arrests the low-level culprits, but fail to arrest the major ones. In a bid to catch the latter, the police uses leniency as an incentive for luring the low-level culprit to give leads to the high-level criminals.
Under this context, the criminal will not feel the pinch of participating in the crime that got him in trouble. Even though it is not certain that the criminal will engage in crime again, there is a high probability that the criminal will not feel deterred to engage in crime. This factor applies in theft too. The fines and punishment for first offenders is up to $1000 whereas the lowest fine depends on the scale of the offence (Ingram, 2013). If the thief had stolen goods worth more than the fine, they will not feel the severity of the punishment since they will pay the fine and go out there to enjoy the rest of the loot.
In reference to countries that practice Islamic law, first time or petty theft attracts a harsher punishment than a second or high value theft. Muslim law holds that a harsher penalty for the first time thieves serves to create a society that refrains from engaging in the vice (Gouda, 1212). The reason as to why Muslims punish the second offender or a high value offender with leniency is that they believe that that criminal deserves other forms of punishments than the ones that they administer. It looks as if the hardcore criminals get away with it, but that is not the fact. Muslims are on the verge of transforming the archaic laws from which the concept of leniency comes from.
However, Gouda (2012) is of the view that leniency brood hardcore criminals and it should be overhauled. Harsher penalties are the best tools for deterring crime. In the US, the period before 1190s was marred with soaring rates of crime. However, the law reforms that followed saw an influx of prisoners in the incarceration facilities, and crime rates went down significantly (DeBolt, 2016). It means that the harsher the punishment, the more deterring it is for the first time and overall offenders.
The level of punishment that thieves get determines their change of behavior and instills deterrence within the society. According to N...
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