H. H. A. Cooper


It is now almost universally accepted that there are three possible bases underlying sentences imposed by the Courts, following some breach of the criminal law. These are generally described as retribution, deterrence and reformation. Occasionally these qualities are considered in combination under some such title as the "aims of penal measures." Another factor, ever present in a vague though influential form, now seems to be emerging from the shadows to assume more definite shape. Yet to materialize is its relationship to the other established, uncontroverted aims. The emergent element may conveniently be termed "public disapproval," under which may be subsumed all those social sentiments, tacit or express, which reflect in the view taken of the offender's conduct. It is increasingly evident that imprecision in regard to the understanding of this factor and its relationship to the accepted sentencing criteria constitutes agreat obstacle to the rationalization of penal policy and is at the root of many of the inconsistencies into which Courts are forced from time to time.