Deterrence Theory

Deterrence Theory
• Often referred to as "Classical Criminology."
• Dates back to 18th century Europe.
-There were monarchies in Europe at this time. So when crimes were committed at this time, the rulers could inflict punishment as they saw fit.
-During this time the criminal justice system was largely unfair. It was capricious.
-Philosophers Bentham and Beccaria wrote extensively about how crimes were dealt with at this time. They began calling for a fair and balanced justice system.
Thinking Criminal
This meant that before someone commits a crime they have a time frame in which they think about the punishment of the crime if they are caught.
Rational Calculus
This means that they balance pleasure and pain. They state it is based upon several factors.
*Own experience with criminal justice system.
*Knowledge of the law: What punishments have been imposed.
Principle of Deterrence
Stated if the pain or "punishment" outweighs the pleasure or gain a person will be deterred from crime.
*It is a subject assumption to assume that a criminal is going to be thinking rationally before engaging in a crime.
If you want to deter crime, the system has to be predictable.
Criminal Justice System in America
The American Criminal Justice System is a deterrence based system.

*1.) Legislatures determine what is legal and illegal in the United States.
*2.) Legislatures must determine a punishment which offsets the pleasure.
*3.) A judge must determine guilt and innocence, and also implies the penalty with no discretions.

-#3 wasn't upheld how it was suppose to be. Because, we in America are judged by a jury of our peers.
-Also, judges in the US can hand out penalties to their own discretion.
Eye for an Eye
Deterrence theorists don't believe in this code. Rather they state that punishment should be given solely to outweigh the pleasure one would experience from committing the crime.
3 Reasonable Standards for Effective Punishment
1. Severity
*Must be severe enough to offset the pleasure of committing a crime.
2. Clarity (Swiftness)Y
*Takes a while for the person committing a crime actually makes it to trial for that crime. X
3. Certainty of Punishment
*The certainty of apprehension. And the certainty that the punishment will be carried out as prescribed. X
*Deterrence theorists say that the certainty of punishment is the most important factor.
Specific Deterrence
Means, the penalty for crime is severe, swift, and certain enough to deter that person from committing said crime.
General Deterrence
Means, when punishments are severe, swift, and certain the rest of the population will be deterred by witnessing what happened to the person that committed a crime. However, there is no way to measure General Deterrence.
Problem with Deterrence Theory
The problem with deterrence theory is there is no way to measure the amount of effective deterrence.
The re-commission of crime after an individual has been caught and punished.
Experimental Effect
The more experience someone has with the criminal justice system. The less afraid they become of that system.
Formal Deterrence
Doesn't seem to work very well, but the majority of people in the United States don't commit crime.
Informal Deterrence
May not be deterred because you fear going to jail, but you think about the people who care about you thinking less of you.
Death Penalty
*One argument is that the death penalty uses cruel and unusual punishment.
*The 14th amendment argues in favor of death penalty if it follows the right penal code in the process.
*2 phases to receiving the death penalty.
Gregg V. Georgia
• Supreme Court ruled in 1972 that, due to Furman V Georgia, the death penalty was unconstitutional because of the 8th amendment.
• Gregg V Georgia argued that the death penalty is a big deterrent but some argued where the evidence was that it deters anything. It had been decided by Georgia that people were deterred from committing crimes due to General Deterrence, but there is NO WAY to measure General Deterrence.