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The Notion of Deterrence: Review

The entire humanity is conversant with the notion of deterrence. Deterrence refers to the employment of retribution as a threat to deter folks from committing offenses. We see cases of many forms of deterrence in everyday lives, all over from the grocery store where we buy serials to the banks where we get money. Since it has relations with the criminal justice structure, deterrence extends to vast lengths in an effort to help keep societies safe.

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The first known case of deterrence as it links to punishment and crime is the policy of Hammurabi (King, 1998). This old document was a text put down by a ruling party which classified offenses and their equivalent punishments. The planning of this policy intends to alert members of the public on expectations of their manners and the consequences of violating the expectations (King 1998). The policy of Hammurabi also made clarification that unawareness of the law is no justification for its contravention.

Types of Deterrence are Currently Used

Originally, two types of deterrence inspired theorists: specific and general. Afterwards, theorists have added two key types of deterrence, being restrictive deterrence and absolute deterrence and (Summerfield, 2006).

The notion of general deterrence is extremely practical as it seeks to mark potential crimes prior to their happening. This theory is an initial point in the deterrence band and regularly targets crime, not the criminal. General deterrence is the introduction of a law and making people know the stipulation of the law, and the effects should one violate it. For instance, a “No Trespassing” warning which quotes a national law like the state of Washington’s, intends to educate or to ring a bell to the public that if they “intentionally enter or remain dishonest in or upon grounds of another” they will face charges due to trespass (State of Washington, 2007). Most cases of general deterrence we observe each day do not cite the law. Electronic piece surveillance is a common deterrence technique in lots of grocery and unit store, warning tags attached to garments and causing posts to sound whenever tags pass amid them; surveillance cameras that observe each move in retail enterprises, banks, expediency stores, and public offices. Each of these security actions seeks to deter the commission of offenses. It is too vital to recognize that general deterrence is the most widespread theory of deterrence.

Individual deterrence, unlike general deterrence, is more personal when it comes to handling offenses. Rather than aiming at the common public, it targets fresh offenders, habitually in their initial stages of following a prospective criminal trail. The parole or probation structure typifies individual deterrence, frequently by the authority of a judge or any presiding authority. While general deterrence notifies the community of the law and punishment connected with their crimes, individual deterrence aids to support better decision making by offering the courts a measure of prudence when handling first time criminals. For instance, a group of youths who thread toilet tissue about a disliked teacher’s residence using the common method of tea- peeing have theoretically committed the offense of defacing personal belongings. Although defacing personal possessions may be punished by 15 days in jail and a sanction, it is unlikely that the judge will tie valuable possessions in the justice structure on this. An instance on the opposite face of the individual deterrence field may be a frequent Driving Under Influence (DUI) criminal. Being implicated while driving under the influence for three occasions individuals demonstrate that they are not capable or reluctant to search for help individually, or they may communicate through their deeds that they plainly do not mind about the wellbeing of other drivers on the highway. A recommended punishment for this may be serving thirty years in a county jail, attending a DUI victim’s section, and compulsory alcohol treatment.

Absolute deterrence is the understanding of what will follow when one commits offense and hence the aversion to do so in prospect (Summerfield, 2006). It too does not require having a criminal record for any offense to exist. Take for instance, a man who habitually solicits prostitutes in a certain region and is familiar with a few buddies at work who frequently visit that region for sex. At some point, his buddy finds himself in jail, making his actions known by his family and friends, and he goes through a phase of life involving the results of this deed. The subject feels that the risk is too immense to go on looking for sex in this region and cannot envisage what would result to his family, life and kids should he be detained for this offense. Although he was not the object of this penalty, he comes to a decision that he can not risk al this for prostitution.

Restrictive deterrence, the last notion, does not engage the satiation of offense by an earlier offender, but alteration of one’s behavior so as to evade discovery. This may entail modifying the forms of crimes one does in order to stay free and obtain the benefits of their behavior (Siegel & Senna 2006). Take for instance a criminal who seeks fiscal gain devoid of the customary actions. She chooses to create small quantities of money without stirring suspicion, so she penetrates a number of fraudulent checks in another individual’s identity. After her identification and sentence to sixty days in a county jail, she embarks on new criminal activities with the same target but less risky.

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Injection Drug Users (IDUs) Deterrence in the United States

Mass media and politicians have identified drugs and crimes as the source of many public evils, and have thus stigmatized offenders and, specifically, drug abusers. Possibly, as a result of these opinions and stigma inducing actions, there has been a massive boost in the local and state law execution workforce:

(from 770 000 in 1992 to 951 000 in 2002), expenditures for incarceration (from US$ 100 per capita in 1991 to US$ 184 per capita in 2001), and arrests and imprisonments in the USA in recent decades (jail and prison inmates increased from 1.2 million in 1990 to 2.1 million in 2001)”(Friedman et al., 2006).

Stigmatization and punishment may have unexpected consequences on public health broadly and on drug-associated harm specifically. Since injection is a more competent way of using drugs than intranasal use, several of researchers have recommended that stigmatization and punishment may augment the forces on non-injecting heroin abusers and possibly cocaine addicts to adopt injection drug use by lessening the provision of drugs or increasing their prices.

Again, results indicate that:

In linear mixed-effects regression, hard drug-related arrest rates have a positive relationship (parameter = +1.59; SE = 0.57), with the population rate of IDUs in 1992 and have no association with change in the IDU rate over time (parameter = -0.15; SE = 0.39)”(Public Med, 2011)

From this case study, it is evident that deterrence- instituted methods to decreasing drug use appear not to decrease IDU pervasiveness. Other approaches like harm diminution, which stop HIV transmission and boosts appointments to treatment, might be a better base for policy.

In conclusion, there are four types of deterrence, including general deterrence, individual deterrence, absolute deterrence and restrictive deterrence. General deterrence is the introduction of a law and making people know the stipulation of the law, and the effects should one violate it. Individual deterrence targets fresh offenders, habitually in their initial stages of following a prospective criminal trail. It aids to support better decision making by offering the courts a measure of prudence when handling first time criminals. Absolute deterrence is the understanding of what will follow when one commits offense and hence the aversion to do so in prospect. It too does not require a criminal who has reprimand for any offense to exist. Restrictive deterrence, the last notion, does not engage the satiation of offense by an earlier offender, but alteration of one’s behavior so as to avoid disclosure. This may entail modifying the forms of crimes one does in order to stay free and obtain the benefits of their behavior.

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Stigmatization and punishment may have unexpected consequences on public health broadly and on drug-associated harm specifically. From the United States case study of IDUs, it is evident that deterrence- instituted methods to decreasing drug use appear not to decrease IDU pervasiveness.

References

Friedman, S.R., Pouget, E. R. & Chatterjee, S. (2006). Relationships of deterrence and law enforcement to drug-related harms among drug injectors in US metropolitan areas. Web.

King, L.W. (1998). Ancient history sourcebook: code of Hammurabi, c. 1780 BCE. Web.

Public Med (2011). Drug arrests and injection drug deterrence. Web.

Siegel, L. & Senna, J. (2006). Introduction to criminal justice. Mason: Thomson Wadsworth

State of Washington (2007). Chapter 9A.52 RCW: Burglary and trespass. Web.

Summerfield, M. (2006). Evolution of deterrence crime theory. Web.

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