Rational Choice And Deterrence Theories Essay

977 words - 4 pages

All beings with a sense of understanding learn how to make choices, even in its smallest measurement, they also learn of consequences to those choices. Children, for example, have been told countless times to stop a certain behavior because they may hurt themselves. Some children heed their parent’s warming’s while others continue down a path that usually ends with a painful lesson but the originating act is usually not repeated. Why can this not be the same for adults? Generally it is understood that a person will make a choice or take an action based on the possible outcomes or consequences. Combining the notions of decision making with criminal behavior, one would find that a path ...view middle of the document...

). One study that evaluated the beloved notion of an increase in police presence will lower crime was conducted by Greenberg, Kessler, and Logan. They estimated a multi-wave panel model of the relationship between crime and arrests from a sample of 98 U.S. cities with 25,000 or more residents from 1964 to 1970 (Kubrin, Stucky, and Krohn 2009). Kubrin, Stucky, and Krohn (2009) explained that from this study no meaningful relationship between criminal behavior and arrests could be established, thereby not supporting the relationship of deterrence and rational choice. Nagin, in contrast from the previous study mentioned, explained that there is an affected outcome from an increased police presence. The effect from increasing police presence is referred to as a “deterrent-like” effect meaning that with more officers patrolling the streets there is a reduction in violent crimes and property crimes (Kubrin, Stucky, and Krohn 2009). The same data was used in both studies, so why then are the outcomes explained differently? Kubrin, Stucky, and Krohn (2009) explained that essentially different statistical techniques were used in their conclusions leading to a different interpretation of results.
If punishment is severe and swift will that be effective in swaying an individual from proceeding through on criminal behavior? The United States throughout history has argued for harsher punishments to aid in the reduction of crime rates, these arguments lead the way to the three strike law. Kubrin, Stucky, and Krohn (2009) stated that these three strike laws increase the punishments as individual reoffends, meaning that on the third severe offense committed by an individual, who has reoffended, he or she could be sentenced to life in prison. Research, in general, does not show that the three strike law is effective in deterring crime. There has even been an increase in punishments specific to...

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