Deterrence Theory Essay

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Soc Theory Deterrence Theory The deterrence doctrine follows the process similar to other social control viewpoints, which aim to understand the reasoning behind what causes people to deter from committing crimes. Cesare Becarria and Jeremy Bentham first implied the notion of the deterrence doctrine in hopes of reinstating “harsh, inequitable and often-capricious criminal justice system.” (pg.388, Sheley) They fought to institute guidelines and policies in order to provide the best outcome for the greatest number of people by maximizing reward and minimizing cost. Beccaria and Bentham believed the most sufficient way to uphold this theory was to have the overall cost of punishment outweigh the potential criminal reward presented amongst possible delinquents. “Formally defined, deterrence is the omission of an act as a response to the perceived risk and fear of punishment for contrary behavior.” (Pg.388, Sheley) According to Gibbs, deterrence can be divided in two categories known as specific deterrence and general deterrence. Specific deterrence generally targets individuals who have been punished or currently being punished for a criminal act with the hope of preventing them from committing crimes in the near future. General deterrence separates itself in that it works to prevent people from engaging in criminal acts by setting an example. In order for the deterrence doctrine to present itself in a plausible manner, effectiveness of punishment must be indentified. Bentham and Beccaria discuss reasoning to why the deterrence doctrine upholds according to these three terms known as certainty, severity and celerity of punishment. Each category differs yet all remain equally as important in order for deterrence to occur. “Certainty of punishment represents the likelihood that one will be punished where as severity and celerity aim to reinforce the
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