CRIM 101 Lecture Notes - Jeremy Bentham, Mandatory Sentencing, List Of Countries By Intentional Homicide Rate

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Published on 21 Apr 2013
School
Simon Fraser University
Department
Criminology
Course
CRIM 101
*Social learning theory
PUBLIC POLICY & CRIME PREVENTION
THE “GET TOUGH” APPROACH
Assumes that offenders will be deterred by stiffer sentences and harsher terms of
imprisonment
Little evidence in support of this argument
*THE US EXPERIENCE
US has three strikes rules, mandatory sentencing guidelines and war on drugs
US has one of the highest per capita incarceration rates in the western world-about 5
times the rate in Canada
Prison population in the US has doubled over the past decade, and the average length of
sentences has tripled
38 of the US states now have the death penalty
US continues to have a much higher rate of violent crime than Canada
Any decline in the overall crime rate in the US has been mirrored in Canada
RATIONAL CHOICE AND DETERRENCE
Rational choice theorists argue that would-be offenders weigh possible benefits of
criminal activities
Similar to Classical School of Criminology (Cesare Becarria and Jeremy Bentham)
*HANG „EM HIGH
Louisiana is amongst top five in US when it comes to executions, yet still has second
highest murder rate and fifth highest crime rate in the US
Louisiana passed 1995 amendment authorizing death penalty in cases of child rape, but
recent study of pre-amendment and post-amendment figures showed no effect on
reducing number of indictments for (or counts of) child rape in the state
States that do not have the death penalty actually have lower than average murder rates
*OR AT LEAST LOCK „EM UP
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF LENGTHIER TERMS OF IMPRISONMENT:
incapacitate offender (by preventing him or her from committing crimes while behind
bars)
specific deterrence (i.e., individual offender deterred from future offending by the
harshness of the punishment)
general deterrence (i.e., members of the general public will themselves be deterred from
committing crimes when they see harsh punishment meted out to the convicted offender)
BUT DOES IT WORK?
Many chronic, serious offenders are substance abusers
Criminological theorists (e.g., Felson, Gottfredson & Hirschi)
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