Less Crime vs More Time

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More Time, Less Crime? I. Introduction Deterring and controlling crime through the use of harsher punishment has been a pressing issue on the agenda of political leaders to not only deter crime but enhance societal protection in an effort to produce safer communities. The use of prisons as a form of this punishment has since increased in frequency throughout the world. In this paper I will discuss whether the application of harsher penal sanctions in the form of lengthy prison terms act as more of a deterrent to criminal behaviour when compared to alternative sentencing. To answer my thesis I will begin by applying the Structional-Functional approach using Emile Durkheim’s functions of deviance to clarify why incarceration is used as the criminal sanction of choice when responding to serious deviant behaviour. Secondly, I will outline a brief comparison between the lengths of prison terms in the United States when compared to that of Sweden. Third, using the Symbolic-interaction approach to deviance, I will apply Sutherlands Differential theory of association to interpret how social interactions between inmates within prison can contribute to recidivism rates. Finally I will conclude with a critical analysis of the evidence that has been presented and interpret the results of my research. II. Structional-functional In order to fully understand the research question, one must know why prison is used as the sanction of choice for serious crimes. The Structional-Functional approach views deviance as a basic and necessary part of social organization. According to Emile Durkheim, there are four functions of deviance however only two will be discussed in this paper. The first states that deviant behaviour affirms cultural values and norms. All members of society are regulated by and subject to social control which is society’s way of attempting to regulate

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