Approaches to Punishment


Does the punishment fit the crime? This is one of the enduring questions in the study and practice of corrections. Generally, the public appreciates a “tough on crime” approach and politicians follow suit by implementing harsher punishments while promising to make communities safer. However, the “tough on crime” approach can have unintended consequences, one of which is that punishments can be disproportionate to the crime committed. A complicating factor is that sentencing structures vary by state; therefore, the same crime committed in two different states could result in vastly different sentences and sanctions.

In this Discussion, you will consider how sentencing structures and sanctions for drug-related offenses vary by state, the degree to which sentences and sanctions are proportionate for drug-related offenses, and the factors that contribute to sentencing disparity.

Post a response that addresses the following:

  • What is the sentencing structure for drug offenses in your state?
  • What types of sanctions are used for drug convictions in your state?
  • Are the sentencing structure and sanctions proportionate to the crime? Why or why not?
  • What factors might contribute to sentencing disparity among drug offenders in your state?

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