After reading the New York Times article “Sentencing by the Numbers” by Emily Bazelon, write a paper either defending or attacking the following statement: “The main purpose of the criminal justice system is to punish criminals for immoral acts, and, since some acts are more immoral than others, the length of incarceration sentences should be in direct proportion to the severity of the crime – therefore, using risk assessment statistics in sentencing is unethical because it may result in two criminals who committed the same severity of crime getting very different sentences.” More specifically, in your paper, include all of the following in this exact order: (1) begin with an introduction paragraph (introducing the paper topic, quoting the statement above, and providing a 1-2 sentence overview of what you will say in the rest of the paper regarding why you agree or disagree with the statement); (2) in the second paragraph briefly define in your own words the four main philosophies of penal justice (retributive justice, utilitarian penal justice, restorative justice, and transformative justice); (3) in the third paragraph explain which philosophy of penal justice argues “The main purpose of the criminal justice system is to punish criminals for immoral acts” (and briefly explain why you think this aligns with this philosophy), which philosophy of penal justice would most strongly encourage “using risk assessment statistics in sentencing” (and briefly explain why you think this aligns with this philosophy), and which philosophies of penal justice are not considered by either of these sides of the debate; and (4) in the fourth paragraph, conclude the paper by stating which philosophy or philosophies of penal justice you personally most agree with, whether you personally agree or disagree with the statement, and why you agree or disagree with the statement.
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