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Criminal Policy Essay

1807 words - 8 pages

1) Specific Deterrence vs. General Deterrence: The purpose of punishing and threatening to punish civilians is to diminish or at least limit the frequency of societies’ criminal activity, in terms of deterrence. The wholly aim of deterrence is to obstruct an individual’s potential offense by means of insertion of fear. Specific deterrence solely applies to individuals who have been administered with some type of punishment, that ultimately render him/her with fear of being penalized again when he contemplates on offending in the future. On the other hand, general deterrence applies to the public at large. It refers to a general understanding and fear that certain unlawful ...view middle of the document...

When applied to criminals, the temptation to commit an unlawful act in context to present events simply overrides his/her rationality. Moreover, as the offender adheres to his instant impulses, it reduces deterrence.

4) Swiftness, Certainty, and Severity: There are three characteristics of punishment that allows it to give a deterrent effect, which are severity, swiftness, and certainty. With severity, it is presumed that the higher the degree of pain inflicted on an individual for a particular behavior, the less likely he/she will repeat the offense. The swiftness competent suggests that a major deterrent consists on the distance between the consequence and the behavior. In other words if the punishment were to quickly follow the offense than the individual is less likely to commit this crime. The last dimension, certainty, predicts that being consistent, in terms of a punishment being applied whenever a criminal act is committed, the greater the likelihood of them refraining from violating a law in the future. Nevertheless, it has become evident that if a punishment were to consist of a swift and certain sanction, it is not required to have a high degree of severity to be efficient.

5) Prospect Theory: Is a model that attempts to provide an explanation of criminal behavior involving risk. It suggests that decisions taken by offenders take into great consideration the gains and losses that each individual undertaking yields, rather than solely basing their decision on the final outcome.

6) Diminishing Marginal Returns of Incarceration The criminal system has always been stern in terms of incarcerating the most menacing criminals for relatively long sentences. However, the expansion of prison cells and incarcerations has ultimately proliferated the proportion of convicted offenders with less severe criminal records sent to prison. In other words this occurs when the eligibility criteria of offenders entering the prison system lessens over time, in terms of the offense committed, which has resulted in the prison’s influx of offenders with minor criminal records.

1) The United State’s current crime and incarceration rate has greatly deviated from its historical norms; nevertheless, it still possesses the label of the most punitive and crime-infested democratic state. The existing rate of incarceration has dramatically escalated and the crime ratio has diminished over time, primarily due to the high levels of punitive measures that the United States exercises. Furthermore, this negative portrayal has also been well established in the international arena, as the United States, compare to various nations around the world, is considered to be the most punitive (in terms of their policies) and possess the highest crime rate. These cross-national statistics, however, can be rather misleading because it doesn’t appropriately assess lesser-level crimes and fails to adequately incorporate the differences in how these...

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