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Paper Topic:

The Concept of Deterrence.


The field of criminology is replete with theories explaining specific crimes as well as patterns of offending . One common factor theories share is the reliance on basic facts of criminal occurrences . However the multitude of criminal theories , especially contemporary theories has added more questions than answers to the study of crime . These questions arise , in part , because of the reliance on basic facts of criminal offending . What types of people are mostly likely to become involved in crime ? Is this similar for all crimes or only specific types

br of crimes ? What factors , social or within the individual , are most important in explaining criminal behaviors ? Modern day criminologists are continually challenging old ideologies and testing existing ideas uncovering problems with some theories and potential support for others

Classical /deterrence theory originated in eighteenth century Europe with the writings of Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham . The basic premises of the theory are : 1 ) human beings are rational and have free will 2 ) human beings are governed by the pleasure /pain principle . The decision-making process is used to maximize pleasure and minimize pain The classical theorists believed that punishment must be just severe enough to outweigh any pleasure to be gained from the commission of the illegal act . In order to facilitate the connection of the punishment with the crime- it must also be applied with swiftness and certainty When so applied rational human beings should be deterred from committing crime (Akers 1997

From this viewpoint we can shifts attention to the act of engaging in criminal or deviant activity . The issue becomes , what can be done to make the act of crime or deviance less attractive to the individual ? How can crime or deviant behavior be prevented ? .crime prevention or at least crime reduction , may be achieved through policies that convince criminals to desist from criminal activities , delay their actions , or avoid a particular target (Siegel , 1992 :133 . Strategies that are relevant to this perspective include the following : target hardening (deadbolts , self-defense skills , the club ' neighborhood watch programs , etc , and legal deterrents (more police , mandatory sentencing , three-strikes " laws , the death penalty , etc . Research on deterrence seems to indicate that for some crimes , instrumental acts designed to produce economic gain and certain predatory street crimes , there is a significant correlation between these preventive strategies and the reduction or deflection of criminal /deviant activities . However , for other criminal and deviant activities , the expressive crimes of violence and the subculturally reinforced forms of deviance , the evidence is less conclusive . Let us examine deterrence concepts in this perspective (Keel 2003

General Deterrence : People will engage in criminal and deviant activities if they do not fear apprehension and punishment . Norms , laws and enforcement are to be designed and implemented to produce and maintain the image that "negative " and disruptive behaviors will receive attention and punishment . Although specific individuals become the object of enforcement activities , general deterrence theory focuses on reducing the probability of deviance in the general population . Examples of control activities...

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