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RECOMMENDATION AS TO THE MOST APPROPRIATE SENTENCE FOR

THE DEFENDANT MISS CHRISTINE EAVES

This report will recommend the most appropriate sentence for Miss Christine Eaves (see
appendix 1 for details of the offence and the pre-sentence report). The recommendation
will be based on the offence committed and the characteristics of the defendant.
Consideration will also be given to prior offences.

The report will go on to give a reasoned argument as to why the recommended sentence
has been suggested over the available alternatives. The penal philosophy underlying the
sentence recommendation will be summarised. Consideration will be given to the likely
effects of the sentence on the defendant and others. Finally the assumptions of criminal
behaviour that the sentence reflects will be outlined.

1. The Specific Sentence Recommended

The specific sentence recommended for Miss Christine Eaves is a 3 Year Community
Order. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduced the new Community Order, as part of
the reform of sentences, to replace all previous community sentences effective from 4th
April 2005. This new order is made up of one or more of twelve possible components.
Selected components are combined to make an individual package specific for the
offender. In Miss Eaves’ case the particular components recommended are a residence
requirement, supervision, participation in specified activities and drug treatment and
testing. The latter component is analogous to the Drug Testing and Treatment Orders
which were introduced nationally in October 2000 (Watkins and Gordon, 2000). The
Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 made it statutory that the offender was to consent to this
order but that once consent was obtained the testing was mandatory. The requirement for
consent has been maintained for the drug testing and treatment component of the new
generic Community Order.

In the event of Miss Eaves refusing to consent to the drug testing and treatment
component, a 6 month custodial sentence is recommended.

2. Why this Particular Sentence?

Community sentences are not a soft option; they combine factors that require the offender
to address their offending behaviour, the effects of their offending on others and the
underlying causes of their offending. The severity of a Community Order varies
according to the individual offender and the crime committed (Criminal Justice System,
2005) In Miss Eaves case the Community Order comprising of the components outlined
above is recommended for several reasons. Specifically a residence requirement is
deemed necessary given Miss Eaves’s current living arrangements – namely in a squat
that is suspected as a place in which drugs are bought and sold. It is viewed that it would
be counter-productive to attempt to engage Miss Eaves on other components of the Order
whilst she is living in such accommodation. Participation in specified activities allows
for Miss Eaves to spend some of her time in a more positive and constructive manner –
with a view to perhaps encouraging her to return to her earlier interest in pursuing a
teaching career. Drug treatment and testing is recommended due to Miss Eaves’s
significant drug addiction and the motivational aspects this addiction had in Miss Eaves

3. A Consideration of Possible Alternative Sentences Available and Why These Were


Rejected

4. The Penal Philosophy Underlying the Sentence Recommendations

5. The Likely Effects of the Sentence on the Defendant and Others

6. What Assumptions about Criminal Behaviour are Underlying the Sentencing


Rationale?

Person convicted of a crime to fund their drug habit. Actual link between drug
addiction and offence. Once agreed to treatment testing is mandatory.

Consent related to the effectiveness of the order and effective use of resources. Counter-
productive to set somebody up to fail from the outset. But offender should not be seen as
being able to dictate own terms. Lack of motivation to comply can be indicative that the
order is not the most suitable. Refusal to consent = custody for 6 months.

In assessing current offence consideration should be given to previous convictions and


responses to sentences (can have bearing). Statutory provision = credit for guilty plea
(Criminal Justice & Public Order Act, 1994) BUT caught red-handed so difficult not to
plead guilty (One third = maximum reduction).

PENOLOGY – Deterrence and Rehabilitation. No desire to punish as defendant is doing


this herself re: lifestyle and situation she is in).

Seriousness – aggravating and mitigating factors. Offence based factors


Mitigating = no violence; no weapon; no racial motivation; no injury to anyone; offence
of need rather than greed.
Aggravating = premeditated; prime mover.

Personal Factors/personal mitigation = domestic, accommodation, drug addiction.

Financial circumstances re: compensation to victim

Perceived cause of offending – Drugs


Family/work commitments – N/A
Offenders own needs to turn away from crime = Help with Drug Addiction.
General ability and motivation to undertake and complete order ????? (consent and
willingness).
Risk of reoffending – High
Responses of previous sentences especially community orders.
Prevention of future offending.

CUSTODY – If offender refuses to consent to community order requiring consent. Or


following breach (wilful and persistent failure to comply) = revoke and resentence (to
custody) or original order was used as an alternative to custody – offence was serious
enough for custody thus wilful and persistent rule not needed. This offence = was serious
enough for custody – the offence was deliberate and premeditated; previous convictions +
failure to respond (previous convictions especially for similar offences = reduce the
extent of mitigation). Offence fuelled by drugs – If offender makes the effort to address
their addiction = favourable. Reluctance to impose custodial sentence.

ALTERNATIVES
Fine – Why not? Does not adequately reflect the seriousness of the crime; no
rehabilitation component – no help with drug habit; offenders financial circumstances are
such that the fine would have to be low, thus not necessarily a deterrent.

Community Order with different components – unpaid work – although such component
may be useful as a distraction from the offenders own problems and may arm the
offender with practical skills it is deemed unsuitable due to the current chaotic lifestyle of
the offender and her current drug habit. The offender is not particularly currently suitable
to perform work activities. No welfare element which is much needed in this case. More
punishment penology (see earlier note re: punishment).

Custody – not suitable – quote evidence from work/research re: women offenders,non-
serious offences and reconviction rates.

Commit to Crown Court for sentencing – non-dwelling burglary – entry of a pharmacy.


National Mode of Trial Guidelines.

Source: McGuire (Ed.). – Phrase - What works? Cited from Martinson (1974) who
concluded that education or treatment was not effective in overcoming or reducing
continued offending behaviour. Collection in McGuires book suggests that this premise
is in need of revision. Martinson himself in 1979 held his hands up to errors in his initial
conclusions and stated that the rehabilitative efforts of treatment could not be ignored.

What does not work: individual casework counselling, medication/dietary changes alone
and punishment: punitive measures – evidence = destructive and worsen recidivism rates.

Punishment (i.e. imprisonment) – 3 objectives:


1. Deter the offender. Studies (i.e. Light et al, 1993) illustrate that the thought of
incarceration does not play an important part in the thought processes of the
offender immediately before they commit the offence. Nonetheless offenders
know there is the possibility of imprisonment and they do not want to get caught.
High reconviction rates do not support the concept of imprisonment as a
deterrence – 1992 statistics detailing the reconviction rates over a 4 year period
for young adult male offenders discharged in 1987 show that 82% went on to
reoffend. (Home Office 1994).
2. Deterrence of others. The presence and threat of prisons ensures that members of
society are law abiding. This theory is difficult to test as many factors could
account for the fact that most people are law abiding. However the most serious
punishment (death) does not seem to have an effect at minimising serious crime.
Comparisons between states that have the death penalty and those that do not
shows no evidence of the deterrent effect of the death penalty (Hood, 1989).
3. Incapacitation – thus protecting the public from the offender for the period of the
sentence. Although obviously the individual imprisoned cannot be a danger to
the public during their sentence there is little evidence that marginal increases in
the prison population has a measurable effect on the overall crime rate. For such
an effect to be observed the increase in the prison population would have to be
extraordinary ~(in the UK – to gain a 30% reduction in crime rates the prison
population would have to increase by a factor of 7.5 to 375000).

Rather authors call for more effective treatment programmes – including components
such as risk classification, addressing criminogenic needs, community based treatment,
multi-modal treatments, adaptable learning styles (from both client and staff), cognitive-
behavioural approaches.

Conclusion – treatment is far from dead as an effective means of reducing reoffending –


as evidenced by the research reported in the collection detailing effective treatment with a
range of offenders and offences i.e. juveniles (Lipsey, 1995); persistent offenders (Knott,
1995); Car Crime (Chapman, 1995) and sex offenders (Prentky, 1995) the authors argue
that what has been witnessed is the “death of deterrence” pp.25.

Source: Walker and Padfield – try a more severe sentence when a milder one has
previously failed. Clean record = mitigation. Loss of clean record = progressive loss of
mitigation. Most cases = evidence that offender has little respect for law and thus
sentencing based on character as well as offence. (This case – argue that prior sentences
done little to aid drug habit etc.).
Premeditated offence = morally worse. Motives – need rather than greed.
Diminished culpability – temptation, circumstances in which offender = under stress
Duress (threat – no longer under own control) possible part of boyfriend in commission
of crime.
Penalties as deterrents – affects fewer people/lasts for less time than hoped or previously
assumed BUT argues that deterrence does not work or “death of deterrence” statements =
unjustified and prompted by dislike of deterrence rather than evidence. (Re: death
penalty – link to above – Hood – 1989; use/non-use of death penalty = no association
with homicide rates – cannot infer that death penalty does not deter anyone rather that it
deters no more potential homicides than does the alternative – a long period of
imprisonment).