Essay Title: 

Criminal Justice – Corrections

March 23, 2016 | Author: | Posted in government, social sciences

For the past quarter of a century , deterrence has been the most popular approach to criminal sanctions in the United States . Does it work This question has become hotly debated in both professional and political arenas as more time has passed and subsequently more in-depth analysis has been generated to answer this question . This will seek to answer three related questions . What is deterrence ? What criminological theory underlies this perspective ? And based on the existing evidence , do correctional sanctions work to reduce crime

First of all , what is deterrence ? Deterrence is the [banner_entry_middle]

belief that a person will make a choice to not engage in criminal activity if he or she believes that the potential consequence of criminal activity is greater than the potential gain from the successful completion of a crime . One supporter of incarceration as a deterrent to crime wrote a concise summary of this approach : Evidence shows that potential criminals respond to incentives . Crime increases when expected punishment declines , and vice versa (Reynolds , 1997 ,

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Second , what criminological theory underlies this perspective ? Those who believe that crime can be effectively deterred with either the threat of sanctions or the offer of incentives strongly hold to a belief in rational choice . They believe that the vast majority of offenders are able to weigh the potential outcomes of an action and choose to engage in criminal activity because they believe that the potential gain from the successful commission of a crime is greater than the potential sanction that they believe will happen if they are apprehended . Morgan Reynolds , in citing both the FBI ‘s Crime in the United States and criminal psychologist Stanton Samenow , said Most offenders are not mentally deranged . And most crimes are not irrational acts . Instead criminal acts are freely committed by people who often compare the expected benefits to the expected costs . The reason why we have so much crime is that , for many people , the benefits outweigh the costs (Reynolds , 1997 ,

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Lastly , is deterrence effective in reducing crime ? The simple answer is yes and no . A more complicated answer involves an honest admission that statistics do show that the trend of increased incarceration has lowered the crime rate on the aggregate level in this country (Reynolds 1997 . However , logical analysis of these numbers suggests that this is because more offenders are confined from committing additional crimes while incarcerated (Cullen , Eck Lowencamp , 2000 . Incarceration also fails to deter offenders from re-offending , given higher recidivism rates of longer-term prisoners when released (Gendreau , Goggin , Cullen Andrews , 2000 . The threat of sanctions in to keep people from offending or re-offending while on probation and parole also fails to deter crime , given that only 43 of those on probation or parole successfully complete it , and that 17 of those arrested for the commission of a felony were on probation at the time of their arrest (Cullen et al , 2000 . Furthermore , Reynolds ignores the role of drugs and addiction in the commission of crime in his… [banner_entry_footer]

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