Introduction to Part Two
DOI link for Introduction to Part Two
Introduction to Part Two book
This part introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters. The part looks at basic principles of just punishment. It also looks at changes in modern sentencing for violent offenses, with a focus on California’s experience in passing and implementing mandatory life penalties for certain crimes. The part explains the reality of incarceration in America. It considers in particular the prevalence of sexual violence and the use of solitary confinement. Punishment is the great preoccupation of contemporary criminal lawyers in the United States. While questions of guilt certainly matter, on a day to day basis prosecutors and defense attorneys and judges in criminal court devote most of their energy to anticipating and resolving questions of punishment. The great majority of cases are resolved by plea bargains, in which much of the bargaining concerns punishment. Most cases end with the judge’s punishment decision, meaning the defendant’s sentence.