Sociology of Crime

1905 Words8 Pages
1. Walker’s Proposition 14 states “Fear-based deterrence programs do not reduce crime”. Fully discuss the theory of deterrence, the problems from theory to practice, and the failure of these programs.

The basic definition of deterrence is an act of preventing from crime, by having something, such as punishment, as a threat. A deterrence theory underlies in criminal laws and justice system to restrain from crimes. Corresponding to the definition, a deterrence theory itself simply means more strict and definite punishments will decrease the rate of crimes, including violent crimes, robbery, burglary, and even drunk driving and possessing drugs. The major goal for deterrence is to make people to avoid committing crimes because they do not want to approach unpleasant experiences and to reinforce people’s behaviors by strengthening the laws and justice system. However, the actual practices of this theory are not as simple as it looks.
Walker pointed out few basic assumptions which are related to deterrence theory that may not work at the real world. First, offenders have to be aware of the threat (123). For example, they have to know that they are exposed to being caught if there are more police officers out there to arrest them. Second, offenders have to perceive that violations of law may lead to unwanted incidents, so they need to be avoided. They should realize the criminal record is bad for their future; if they want to apply for a job, there is low possibility that interviewers will accept them since they have criminal records. Third, they have to believe that a real risk of arrest, conviction, and punishment exists (123). If offenders do not believe that they will be caught by police, they cannot be considered as deterred. L...

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...nother point is that despite you are into one of the categories who have higher chance of becoming criminals, what truly matter is your background, how and where you are raised and socialized (36), and that actually influence the chance of committing crimes.
These characteristics are Barkan and Bryjak mentioned in the book that some “kinds” of people to contribute crimes than others. However, we should know that any of these explanations are not absolutely true and they just explain that some of our social characteristics influence chances of committing crimes.

Works Cited

Barkan, Steven E., and George J. Bryjak. Myths and Realities of Crime and Justice: What
Every American Should Know. 2nd ed. Burlington: Jones &Bartlett Learning, 2009. Print.
Walker, Samuel. Sense and Nonsense about Crime, Drugs, and Communities. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth Pub, 2011. Print.
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