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Paper Topic:

Deterrence Theory

Deterrence Theory

The concept of deterrence is fundamentally one that suggests crimes will not be committed if the alternatives to crime are more attractive and indeed the punishment of criminal offences levy a substantial penalty . It is suggested by many criminologists that would-be offenders are reasonably rational and respond to their perception of the costs and benefits to alternative courses of action (Wilson 307 . In part , this is the concept behind rational choice theories where people utilize common sense , judgment or weigh the pros and cons of a course of action

. In for someone to break the law , under such a model , they have carefully thought on procedures and possible outcomes before acting out a crime

Theoretically the concepts of deterrence theory and rational choice theory work together - one affects the other , so to speak . What drives someone to commit a crime differs between individuals . People differ by degrees in the extent to which they are governed by internal restraints on criminal behavior and in the stake they have in conformity (Wilson , 312 . What may work as deterrent to one would-be criminal or first-time offender may not have the same affect as someone that has continuously committed offences . Not only from a judicial standpoint , but also from a social and personal perspective

People , who consider they have nothing left to lose , are more prone to taking risks and re-offending , than someone who may have a family to consider , or aspirations . Incarceration is associated with an increased probability of future criminal behavior for some offenders and longer jail stints are associated with longer periods of abstinence before returning to crime among certain types of offenders (DeJong 571 . Essentially , in to prevent criminal activity , one must not just look at deterrence by punishment alone , but also in denying the opportunity , or necessity to commit a crime . By making the opportunities for crime more difficult through target hardening reducing the opportunities for crime and increasing the risks of being caught (Young , 444 ) there is created a stronger resonance of rationality in deterring a crime or potential criminal

Studies of deterrence theory have clashed often at times on what makes a good deterrent . One study concluded that for some , spending time in jail , may increase [offenders] perceptions of the severity and certainty of future punishment leading to deterrence . [Yet] for others , jails and prisons can be schools of crime (DeJong , 573 . Other studies also noted where the effects of peer offending were most pronounced among individuals with little overall offending experience (naive or non-offenders (Pogarsky et al , 364 . The concept of peer-effects perhaps plays a greater part in deterrence of crime than we may initially consider . Arguably , a punishment to a crime should be the greater deterrent , but peer effects ' result from differential reinforcement individuals behave like others around them , because such behaviors are accepted and positively reinforced (367 . In this regard , any deterrent should consider grass-root perceptions of crime and social contexts of would-be felons

Deterrence Theory and Rational Choice...

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