Two Six Factors In The Effectiveness Of General Deterrence

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Deterrence is a way of using punishment to threaten, discourage, or divert people from committing further crimes. There are two key categories of deterrence: general deterrence and specific deterrence. General deterrence targets potential offenders, aiming to discourage individuals from committing similar offences as past offenders. General deterrence can also be thought of as a threat to the whole public, it would occur when an individual sees the consequences of another; therefore, does not engage in the same behavior. Specific deterrence, on the other hand, is a punishment to the individual person because of a crime they committed. This type of deterrence would occur when the individual decides not to commit the same crime due to their …show more content…
There are six factors that play a role in the effectiveness of general deterrence. Individuals rationally weigh costs and benefits of the crime. For example, as stated in the text, “To a drug addict, the cost of not stealing the money to pay for one’s next fix probably seems greater than stealing he money” (Berger, Free, and Searles 2009). To someone that continually commits crime by dealing drugs, stealing money may not be seen as a threat or harmful in any way. They believe it is more beneficial to have the drugs exactly when they are needed. Along with this, individuals do not intend on getting caught when committing a crime. To relate to the drug situation, these individuals do not sit around every day and plan how, when, or if they will get caught. However, the contrast effect plays a role in the effect of deterrence. Many criminals do not see great importance in their life and believe they do not have as much to lose if they were to be caught. This makes the concept of deterrence ineffective because individuals do not see the punishment as a major deal. Alcohol and drugs are often involved when crimes are committed. With this being said, judgment is impaired. Generally, individuals more likely associate shame and embarrassment to illegal acts rather that the punishment (Berger, Free, and Searles 2009). Another factor taking control over the effect of deterrence is the lack of knowledge. Individuals are not aware of the exact punishment when committing a crime. Finally, prison has becoming less stigmatizing leading to less of a deterrent effect. Individuals are failing to see prison as a harsh place to be (O’Brien Lecture). Closely relating to deterrence, incapacitation is also an ineffective way to handle the growing crime

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