The purposes of sentencing
1. When determining an appropriate sentence for a person convicted of a criminal offence, including a health and safety offence, courts are required to have regard to the following purposes of sentencing1:
- The punishment of offenders;
- The reduction of crime (including its reduction by deterrence). A sentence may act as a deterrent against reoffending to the convicted duty holder and as a general deterrence to other duty holders;
- The reform and rehabilitation of offenders. In aiming to avoid similar punishments in the future, convicted duty holders will be motivated to improve their health and safety procedures;
- The protection of the public. A sentence may be intended to incapacitate the defendant so as to prevent him/her committing any further crime (see, for example, disqualification orders); and
- The making of reparation by offenders to persons affected by their offences. For example, a sentence may be used to compensate the victim (see compensation orders).
2. In all of these ways, sentencing can help to secure the objectives of HSWA 1974.
3. For guidance on how a court will assess the seriousness of an offence, including the specific factors that a court might consider to be relevant when deciding sentence in health and safety cases, see the sections Factors relevant to sentence and Imposing the sentence.
- Criminal Justice Act 2003, section 142. This section does not apply where the offender is aged under 18 at the time of conviction (s.142(2)(a)).