Deterrence Theory of Crime

Good Essays
Deterrence theory of crime is a method in which punishment is used to dissuade people from committing crimes. There are two types of deterrence: general and specific. General deterrence is punishment to an individual to stop the society as a whole from committing crimes. In other word, it is using the punishment as an example to “scare” society from precipitating in criminal acts. Under general deterrence, publicity is a major part of deterrence. Crime and their punishments being showing in the media or being told person to person can be used to deter crime. Specific deterrence is punishment to the individual to stop that individual from committing other crimes in the future. This type of deterrence is used to teach the individual a lesson whatever action that participated in. Specific deterrence is founded on a principle called hedonistic calculus meaning, “an assumption that human nature leads people to pursue pleasure and avoid pain” (Brown, Esbensen, & Geis, 2010, p 155).

Casare Beccaria, the father of classical criminology, believed that certainty, severity, and celerity (or speed) could prevent crime. He said that as certainty of punishment went up, the less likely someone is to break the law. So if criminal knew that they would be punished, they would be more hesitate to committed crime. He believes that the laws need to be clear and must always be enforced. His second principle of deterrence stated that the faster the punishment is set in the less likely crime will happen. Beccaria believed that the less time between the crime and the punishment, the stronger impact it would have on the individual. His last principle addressed severity of the crime. He believe that this was the least important of the...

... middle of paper ...

...ted earlier in the paper, this type of deterrence was founded on the belief that people will be persuaded by human nature to pleasure and not to pain. Donchak and Piekarsky, got nine years in prison. With both of them still being pretty young, they will get out of prison in their middle ages. It is doubt fully that when they get out of prison, that they will ever want to go back. If this is the case, then the type of deterrence has worked. It has scared the individual out of committing crimes. , there is still a chance that these two individuals might not learn from their mistakes and continue to commit crime. Researchers have found that there are two reasons for that. Number one being, a selection process where the most active criminals seem to get caught; number two is a “resetting” that they might believe that their bad luck will end and they will not get caught.
Get Access