Deterrence leads to the idea of crime being a choice specific to an individual. People who engage in criminal behavior weigh the possible risks of consequences against the possible gain in rewards. What really tips the scale in this gamble of criminal behavior is the certainty and severity of punishment (Kubrin, Stucky, and Krohn 2009). There can be a problem with this idea, are those who commit illegal acts rational thinkers? The theorem for deterrence and rational choice consists of the following: the guarantee of punishment could lower criminal behavior, the severity of consequences will also reduce criminal acts, and swift discipline will avert further criminal behavior from offenders (Kubrin, Stucky, and Krohn 2009).
Hobbs, Beccaria, and Bentham provided the foundation for modern deterrence theory in criminology (Mutchnick, Martin, Austin 2009). Those who support Deterrence Theory are of the opinion that the degree of punishment affects an individual’s choice to obey or violate the law. Beccaria held the belief that the certainty of punishment, even if it is mild in application, would deter individuals from committing crimes more so than the fear of a more severe punishment that is combined with the possibility of impunity. (Mutchnick,et al. 2009).
The American prison system has long touted the principal of deterrence – meaning that crime can be controlled by giving very harsh sentences to those who are caught, hoping that future crimes will be avoided because a would be perpetrator sees and fears what the potential punishment of following through with such an act might be. The idea that a single person’s punishment is going to keep others from committing a crime a key argument for our system of crime and punishment. This paper is going to focus on this currently failing policy of deterrence, examining its true nature, and then discuss its place, if any, that it has in our law enforcement system. To fully understand the scope and nature of the problems related to deterrence, one must understand a few facts about deterrence itself. Many people often confuse deterrence with retribution or punishment, but that it is not.
Through the study of psychology, specifically free will, determinism and social identity, we may find that situational crime prevention is a better means to deter crime in our nation. The debate over the proper course for effective crime control can be traced back to the famous treatise “On Crimes and Punishments” written by Cesare Beccaria in 1764. Beccaria’s work implies (rightly so) that potential law violators would be deterred if government agencies could swiftly detect, try and punish anyone who violates the criminal law. This exercise in disciplinary power is noted by Jokiranta; “In order to get hold of the hearts and minds of the members, the community has to get hold of their bodies” (Jokiranta, pg 10), and has been adopted by systems of criminal justice since their beginning with the London Metropolitan Police in 1829. Along with this approach came the stigma that criminals were predominantly born of poverty and misfortune.
This is undertaken by solely examining Strain theory and Rational choice theory. Although individual influences in crimes are of importance; they should only be recognized as an aptitude of crime rather then its cause. For that reason, a critique of these issues promotes a change by the academic community away from discussions over their success towards the development of more unifying theory building in the current economic climate. A theoretical perspective that has been used to explain white-collar crime is rational choice theory (Paternoster and Simpson, 1996; Piquero et al., 2005). Its bases its argument on the idea that people consider their decisions prior to undertaking criminal acts, and then act in their self-interest.
Retribution connects to incarceration, where the offender chose to commit the crime so they should pay their time for committing the crime. Depending on the crime that the offender committed, the type of sanction that would be used for retribution may vary. Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpuio stated that he, “believes in the retributive goal of corrections and notes strong public support for getting tough on crime and criminals” (Sieter, 2014, p. 26). The above evidence shows that if crime is punished by incarceration and the fear of incarceration is in the criminal offenders mind, then they may not pursue in criminal activity. As Joe Arpuio states “getting tough on crime,” the tougher retributive punishments are, may again deter crime.
Instead of viewing these theories as contradictory, preferring the one and ignoring the other, it is contended that Gabriel Tarde’s (Wil... ... middle of paper ... ...ponse to their situation to support their view. There is a valid place for social theories such as the strain theory because, through understanding social factors which may put people at risk of committing crimes, actions directed towards alleviating the strain will result in prevention of crimes by removing some reasons the offender may have to commit the crime. The classical view of criminal behaviour which states criminal behaviour is a rational decision made by the criminal is, provided that the offender is capable of rational thought, indisputable and is the most convincing explanation of criminal behaviour. As a society then, we need to work towards making crime a more unattractive option. Relieving the strain is one way.
Have you ever wonder if there is any good justification for the policy of punishing people for breaking laws? Boonin’s definition of punishment consists of Authorized, Reprobative, Retributive, Intentional Harm. The problem of punishment incorporates three different answers. Consequentialism, which makes punishment beneficial (will do good for the people later in the future). Retributivism punishment is a fitting response to crime.
Deterrence theories rely on criminal prosecutions to prevent corporate crime after the crime has already been committed (ex-post), where as compliance theories focus regulatory agencies that encourage compliance with the law before the crime takes place (ex-ante). 3.1 Deterrence Theory Deterrence theory argues that individuals act in accordance with their self-interest and obey the law because they fear the penalties of criminal behavior. More often than not, they choose not to commit crimes because they have seen harsh punishments imposed on others. Current research on deterrence emphasizes the role of the criminal justice system enforcing and punishing offenders. The fear of detection, conviction, and punishment resulting from prosecution forms the core of deterrence theory.
In this case, an interest in the broad deterrent effectiveness of these measures is an interest in their crime preventive effectiveness by whatever means prevention is achieved. Accordingly, a person contemplating the commission of a crime would undertake a cost-benefit analysis and would execute the criminal plan only if potential benefits sufficiently outweighed expected costs. In addition to theorists, courts have adopted the rational actor model as a justification for the imposition of certain penalties, specifically the death penalty for the crime of murder. Under general deterrence theory persons are punished for violating the criminal law to serve as object lessons for the rest of society. Society, according to the theory, thus transmits the following message.