A critical analysis of the effectiveness of the rationale behind the principles of sentencing

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Mwila, Sabi A.
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In Zambia, as in most common law countries the judiciary is generally given a considerable latitude of freedom in ascertaining the appropriate punishment for an offence. In the majority of cases, the trial judge or magistrate has the power to impose or sentence ranging from an absolute discharge to a sentence of imprisonment with no clearly or well spelt out laid down guidelines or requirements to assist him in making the appropriate choice. The aims of sentencing are now considered to be retribution, deterrence, reformation and protection and modern sentencing policy reflects a combination of several or all of these aims.The importance of reformation of the offender is shown by the growing emphasis laid down upon it by much modern legislation. And this is reflected by the rationale of the principles of sentencing. But this rationale is only effective subject to some prevailing circumstances, i.e there is need to promote and up¬hold surrounding circumstances enabling the rationale of principles of sentencing to be effective. However or nevertheless, the protection of society is often the overriding consideration.Society has always devised rules and means by which it deals with those who breach its rules and endanger its ordered existence, and in so doing helps to control their deviant behaviour for the benefit of the entire society. One such method of control is the punishment of those who go against society's rules-criminals. Currently the most resorted to institution of punishment is a prison. However it must be appreciated that for such an institution to be of help in the reformative purposes, the conditions and facilities in a prison are an issue. In this regard therefore, the problem of this Research endeavors to articulate on, is to establish the relevance of the penal system of imprisonment, by analyzing the effectiveness of the rationale behind the principles of sentencing. The research is intended to be interdisciplinary. The justification lies in the fact that the problems of analyzing the effectiveness of the rationale behind the principles of sentencing and particularly its successful solutions inevitably calls for a comprehensive comparative penology and for a piece of legislation that will have taken an aggressive and interdisciplinary strategy in its drafting. It is submitted that the proposed problem of research at hand, is as mush the lawyer's, sociologists; economist psychologist and/or religious and layman's concern. In short; the magnitude and gravity of this problem is such that is demands for urgent and alternative practical solutions.It is important to note that throughout the world, there is an on going note debate on how, best is treat criminals and prisons. But above all, the already suggested methods are pointing so far to the ideal of rehabilitation as well be shown later in the proceeding chapters. Only by trying new methods can we hope to achieve or get nearer to the proper way of dealing with the problem of crime, criminals and prisons. Lusaka,
Crimina law