About the constitutionality of mandatory minimum sentences
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As difficult as the task of reaching a reliable verdict may be, the second half of a criminal court's procedure, that of imposing sentences on those who have been found guilty or who have themselves admitted their guilt raises even more fundamental questions. What are we trying to do, what is the object of this exercise? Traditionally there have been four approaches to the sentencing of an offender which correspond to the four "objects" or "purposes" of sentencing, namely retribution, rehabilitation, deterrence or incapacitation, i.e. the offender should be punished for the crime; the offender should be punished to be given the opportunity to return "onto the right track"; the offender (individual deterrence) or others (general deterrence) should be deterred from committing similar crimes in the future; and, finally, the offender should be incapacitated, i.e. be prevented from repeating crimes.