Does the Perceived Risk of Punishment Deter Criminally Prone Individuals - Rational Choice, Self-Control and Crime.Pdf

14331 Words May 3rd, 2012 58 Pages
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency

Does the Perceived Risk of Punishment Deter Criminally Prone Individuals? Rational Choice, Self-Control, and Crime
Bradley R. E. Wright, Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt and Ray Paternoster Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 2004 41: 180 DOI: 10.1177/0022427803260263 The online version of this article can be found at:

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School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers - Newark

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These studies have also used self-reported intentions to offend, and although intentions to offend are a staple in this literature, they may encourage “trash talk” or boastfulness among those with a criminal propensity. This trash talk would take the form of responding to a scenario that they would commit a criminal act even in the face of certain and severe punishment but acting in the real world in a more prudent manner. Finally, the position that sanction threats effectively inhibit the criminal behavior even among those with high levels of criminal propensity is also consistent with the empirical literature and harmonious with compelling theoretical positions.

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In this article, we reexamine the relationship among stable differences in criminal propensity, sanction threats, and criminal activity. We analyze data from the Dunedin (New Zealand) Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. The Dunedin study is of a birth cohort of approximately 1,037 study members followed up from birth to age 26. Detailed psychological, medical, and sociological information has been collected on all subjects, including self-reported and official delinquent and criminal offending. Because it is comprised of a birth cohort, contains substantial information on

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