The Criminal Justice Field : A Harsher Punishment Helps With Deterring Crime

The Criminal Justice Field : A Harsher Punishment Helps With Deterring Crime

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Haylie Galvan
Dr. Szde Yu
CJ 407
28 September, 2016
Paper 1


It has been often debated in the criminal justice field if a harsher punishment helps with deterring crime. Many studies have been conducted over the years to test how accurate this statement is. There were particularly three specific studies that looked into this concept. Many of which looked into how different factors could possibly have an impact. The results showed that there was several different point of views when it came to this specific topic.
In the 1983 study conducted by William Samuel and Elizabeth Moulds, it was revealed that there was an agreement among a widespread group of people on the topic of fair punishment for certain crimes. This study was a statewide survey involving 753 residents in the state if California. All of the people selected were 18 years and older, and were chosen randomly based on their telephone numbers. This study was conducted by professional telephone interviewers over a period of nine days. The residents were asked a series of questions involving different crimes and punishment options. The results showed that a majority of the recommend sentences made by the residents were less severe than the California Penal Code (Samuel and Moulds, 939). The researchers also looked at the different demographics within the group in order to determine if that had any effect on the results. They found that age and race did have an impact on the crime variables. The overall conclusion of the results was that most people concur on the severity of criminal offenses in efforts to help prevent crime. This study is considered to be exploratory research, since it is identifying qualitative data on a particular group. Since the results were collected...


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...ate a public debate, even though many “experts” do not believe harsh punishments help prevent any future crime.
These studies looked at different components that could have had an effect on the results. The first study found that certain variables did have an impact on the results. That most of participants did defend harsher punishment since it does deter crime. The second study attempted to explain why people believe harsher penalizations on crimes was the best route to take. They found that many people’s beliefs were driven by the concept of deterrence. The last article looked at the different opinions of an elite group of experts in the criminal justice field. It was concluded that harsher punishment does not prevent any future crime. This topic is constantly being studied due to the varying viewpoints, since many factors could play a key role in one’s opinion.

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