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Sentencing

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On 22 October 2010, a Provincial Court Judge in Canada slapped a historic $3 million creative sentence to Synctude Canada Ltd.  This firm is the world’s leading manufacturer of synthetic crude oil from oil sand. The firm was handed this creative sentence after it allegedly failed to take reasonable action to protect more than 1,600 ducks from dying on one of the company’s toxic settling basin. In addition to a $800,000 fine,  Syncrude was ordered to pay another $2.2 million to aid in conservation and research projects (Henton, 2010). While several environmental conservationists termed the penalty as weak considering that the oilsands firm earns billions of dollars every year, beneficiaries of the $2.5 million in funding for research, conservation and wildlife monitoring lauded the sentence as something historic.

Henton (2010) reveals that in partnership with other conservation groups, the conservancy has put aside $900,000 of this amount for the purchase of 23 hectares of land along the North Cooking Lake shoreline. Another $1.3 million has been set aside to fund a three-year research project that is aimed at establishing the best method of protecting bird species that are endangered by toxic tailing lakes. Indeed, this was a creative sentencing considering the different projects that have been funded by the fine. Other creative sentencing that might work include,

When an individual commits an offence or does something against the law, he or she should be punished or imposed to something unpleasant or negative. In my opinion, I believe in retribution or retributive justice. When an individual commits a crime, he or she should be given a punishment that fits the crime committed (Branham, 2010). I believe that a sanction or punishment should not merely be helpful to the offender, but also treat or correct the offending conduct as wrong. Retribution is good because punishment is meant to censure and not merely to help the offender change for the better. I believe that our criminal justice system has the duty of responding to individuals who violate the rules of the land by communicating through retribution. Another important reason for retribution is to convey to the victims the acknowledgement that justice has been done after being wronged. Failure to punish a criminal is not only disrespectful to the victim but also a sign of weakness to the criminal justice system (Branham, 2010). In this regard, I believe that crime can only be reduced by punishing criminals severely through retribution. In order for criminals to serve as example to potential and seasoned criminals, severe punishment that fits the crime committed should be given. For instance, murderers can only be deterred from this inhumane activity if they are hanged.

Ashworth (2010) argues that Sentencing is the most important and challenging facet in a judge’s duty. In my opinion, the severity of an offence and the harm caused to a victim are the most important factors that I would consider before sentencing an offender. For the judges, one of the most important factors that a judge should be considered when sentencing is the presentence report. A judge should always make his or her judgment based on the facts presented in the presentence report (Ashworth, A. (2010). A judge should also base his or her sentence on the history of the offender. This will ease the judge’s decision because sentencing a seasoned offender will be easy. Moreover, a judge should issue his or her judgment based on the severity of the offence. An individual who has committed a severe offence like murder should receive a severe sentence than those who have committed petty offences.  . A sentence should be given based on the facts presented in the evidence.

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