A Deterrence Theory of Punishment PDF

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A Deterrence Theory of Punishment

According to the deterrence theory of punishment, people respect the law because they are afraid of the consequences if they are caught breaching it.

Examine the definition of deterrence theory and its impact on law enforcement. Understand the arguments against deterrence theory and how it applies to both drunk driving and the death sentence.

A Deterrence Theory of Punishment – Summary

According to deterrence theory, people do not commit crimes because they are terrified of being caught, but rather because they are motivated by a profound moral sense. People are most likely to be deterred from committing a crime if the punishment is immediate, certain, and harsh, according to deterrence theory. For example, deterrence theory states that if there is a low risk of being caught or if the punishment for being caught is only a warning, you are more likely to steal the candy bar.

Three Assumptions

  • Understand the consequences of committing a crime.
  • Possess excellent control of their activities.
  • Think things through and make decisions based on logic rather than emotion.

These three assumptions are simply not true in the case of many crimes. Even still, the deterrence idea appears to have some merit, particularly when it comes to drunk driving.

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