Deterrence in CJ

Deterrence in CJ - Deterrence in Criminal Justice...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–5. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Deterrence in Criminal Justice Evaluating Certainty vs. Severity of Punishment Valerie Wright, Ph.D. November 2010
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
This report was written by Valerie Wright, Ph.D., Research Analyst at The Sentencing Project. The Sentencing Project is a national non-profit organization engaged in research and advocacy on criminal justice policy issues. Copyright © 2010 by The Sentencing Project. Reproduction of this document in full or part in print or electronic format only by permission of The Sentencing Project. For further information: The Sentencing Project 1705 DeSales St., NW 8 th Floor Washington, D.C. 20036 (202) 628-0871 www.sentencingproject.org
Background image of page 2
DETERRENCE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE |EVALUATING CERTAINTY VERSUS SEVERITY OF PUNISHMENT 1 ver the past several decades state and federal incarceration rates have increased dramatically. As a consequence of more punitive laws and harsher sentencing policies 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the nation’s prisons and jails, and the U.S. leads the world in its rate of incarceration. Sentencing systems and incarceration traditionally have a variety of goals, which include incapacitation, punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation. In recent decades, sentencing policy initiatives have often been enacted with the goal of enhancing the deterrent effect of the criminal justice system. Under the rubric of “getting tough on crime,” policies such as mandatory minimums, truth in sentencing, and “three strikes and you’re out” have been designed to deter with the threat of imposing substantial terms of imprisonment for felony convictions. While the criminal justice system as a whole provides some deterrent effect, a key question for policy development regards whether enhanced sanctions or an enhanced possibility of being apprehended provide any additional deterrent benefits. Research to date generally indicates that increases in the certainty of punishment, as opposed to the severity of punishment, are more likely to produce deterrent benefits. This briefing paper provides an overview of criminological research on these relative impacts as a guide to inform future policy consideration. O
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
DETERRENCE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE |EVALUATING CERTAINTY VERSUS SEVERITY OF PUNISHMENT 2 CONCEPTUALIZING DETERRENCE In broad terms punishment may be expected to affect deterrence in one of two ways. First, by increasing the certainty of punishment, potential offenders may be deterred by the risk of apprehension. For example, if there is an increase in the number of state troopers patrolling highways on a holiday weekend, some drivers may reduce their speed in order to avoid receiving a ticket. Second, the severity of punishment may influence behavior if potential offenders weigh the consequences of their actions and conclude that the risks of punishment are too severe. This is part of the logic behind “three strikes,” and “truth in sentencing” policies, to utilize the threat of very severe sentences in order to deter some persons from engaging in criminal behavior. One problem with deterrence theory is that it assumes that human beings are rational
Background image of page 4
Image of page 5
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 09/05/2011 for the course CJ 104 taught by Professor Hatch during the Spring '11 term at Boise State.

Page1 / 12

Deterrence in CJ - Deterrence in Criminal Justice...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 5. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online