Deterrence, Rational And Restorative Justice Theories

1902 words - 8 pages

This paper will illustrate three theories; deterrence theory, rational choice theory, and restorative justice theory. It will outline in detail the policies, and the connections between theory, research, and policy.
Deterrence theory can be outlined as “principles of certainty, severity, and celerity of punishment, proportionality, specific and general deterrence” (Burke, 2009). In order for the punishment to be effective it has to be certain, swift, severe. Certainty is more important than the severity in deterring crime. Deterrence theory confirms that if the punishment contains these three elements people will rationally calculate that there is more to be lost than there is to be gained from crime (Gordon, 2010). Deterrence functions in two ways. General deterrence is the punishment of the offender to be set as an example for others in the society and specific deterrence focuses on repeat offenders to refraining them from the act (Burke, 2009). The purpose of general deterrence is to abstain others considering committing the crime. It was argued that when the certainty, severity, and celerity of criminal sanctions are high in a population, criminal behaviour will be low. Studies suggest that capital punishment has been ineffective, other studies show that more homicides occurred when the death penalty was publicized (Pacotti, 2005). Then a comparative research shows that 5 countries with the highest homicide rate do impose the death penalty average 41.6% murders for every 100, 000 people, whereas the five countries that don’t impose death penalty is 21.6% for every 100, 000 (Gordon, 2010). Deterrence also has little affect on domestic cases, drunk driving, and shoplifting. Deterrence is well said in a theory but in reality it doesn’t work; furthermore it concludes that leading criminologists, police, law enforcements officials, don’t believe that capital punishment will decrease rates of homicide. Many of the nation’s officials believe that criminals do not think about possible punishment when they commit a crime. Rational choice theory is linked to deterrence theory; it came into play after rehabilitation was ineffective, and this theory grew out of the same utilitarian philosophy as deterrence (Pacotti, 2005). Rational choice theory can be defined as a person reasons before taking an action, also balancing the cost and benefits of the situation. The focus is upon situational opportunities, and victim factors (Gordon, 2010). The model consists of individuals desire utility (e.g. happiness, wealth), operating within their means individuals attempt achieve their desired goals, the rational choice is the one that obtains desired goals (e.g., the most utility) for the lowest cost (Pacotti, 2005). It fails to explain expressive non economically motivated criminal activity such as vandalism (Burke, 2009). The policy that links these two theories together is boot camps, and scared straight for young offenders scare tactics, also disciplining...

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