Deterrence from Crime

373 Words2 Pages
Deterrence from Crime One of the major purposes of punishment is deterrence, or intimidating people into refraining from crime. There are two basic forms of deterrence identified by criminology, individual and general. The purpose of general deterrence is to discourage people from committing crimes by setting an example of what the consequences of crime can be. A "Tow-Away Zone" sign is one of the lighter examples of general deterrence, while decimation (the ancient Roman military law practice of killing one out of every ten soldiers when a serious crime was committed and no one stepped forward to take the blame) is perhaps one of the harshest forms of general deterrence ever enacted. To be effective, the punishment must be harsh enough to actually deter people from committing crimes. A more effective way is the “carrot and stick” policy, in which the law abider is given an incentive to follow rules, and is punished if he does not. While few would really argue against taking the bite out of punishment, there are some arguments that deterrence is not nearly as effective as we'd like it to be. Statistics showing high crime rates among people who have already been in prisons, or punished in other ways can easily be used to demonstrate that deterrence isn't so very effective. The sheer threat of punishment is not enough to ensure the smooth functioning of a law-abiding society, as countless examples of tyranny and police states illustrate. Those predisposed towards crime are usually people, with backgrounds of poverty, alienation, and violence, and a majority of criminals aren't the sort to stop and weigh the consequences of their actions anyway. Therefore the best deterrent to crime is good education, loving our neighbors, by being friendly with them, and sharing in their sorrows and helping them out in their difficulties. It is chiefly our neighbor's
Open Document