• Human beings are rational beings. Crime would be prevent if the potential criminal realized the cost of
committing the crime would be greater that the rewards. Thus a welldesigned justice system can deter
• Deterrence is effective unto some degree like you don’t part in wrong area knowing you might get a detect.
Or when police services go on strike▯# of crimes increase dramatically.
• How can we change our current system to make it more effect as a deterrence? Many believe is to increase
sentences time for prison.
• But this is not effective rather certainty (of getting punished) is more effective then
Does imprisonment deter crime?
• Long sentences are difficult to justify based on research in fact it may increase crimes
• Label theory: suggest that there is stigma to prison sentence and thus you may no longer participate in the
society. Someone people get used to it. Others learn new trick and knowledge that they can use when they
get out. Other may bear hatred towards society
• Young people when DID NOT reduced their offending when they reached age of 18 and thus being subject
to adults law that are suppose to be more severe
Does mandatory minimum sentence deter crimes?
• The criminal code provides a broad range of penalties for many offences. Often minimum sentences are
produced when legislators are under pressure from public.
• More severe is the California mandatory threestrike law▯25 years if you commit a 3 serious offence▯has
result in some bizarre sentences.
• The rule is very costly to the state. The state can no longer afford its prison system and overcrowding is
seen now. It even increases court costs as people try to get lessor sentences.
• It could be worthwhile if it reduces crimes ▯ BUT that is NOT the case. Evidence is below
• Decline in crime is not correlated with three strike law but rather due to legislations.
• No reduction is total crime is seen neither the violent crimes.
• The crime rate is not declining faster in California as compare to other states even the punishment is severe
• Increase in homicides as those who face the rule want to eliminate the witnesses.
• Biggest failure of mandatory sentence is that it did not decrease drug wars even though billions have been
• Why doesn’t severe punishment decrease crime rate?
1. Most criminal may not feel that they are at risk of getting caught ▯ this is true as many of the offences are
often not reported, do not result in arrest, do not lead to conviction, and most do not result in imprisonment.
2. Also effected by the fact that many are under the influence so they are prone to make bad decision.
3. Often they are unaware of the sentence that they might face
4. Judges can find ways of evading penalties such as mandatory minimum sentence that they feel are too
5. It is likely that the existing level of punishments is severe enough for most of us (capital punishment is
severe enough but does not decrease crimes anyways)
The impact of increasing the certainty of punishment
• There is a large body of evidence to suggest that the efforts to increase certainty do deter crime.
• Hot spot policing: most crimes occur as small number of address in any community. Hot spot policing
refers to concentration police resources on these high crimes locations because this will increase the
certainty of apprehension.
• Individualized deterrence: offenders who are heavily involved in criminal activity are individual warned
that their actions are being monitored and future violation of the law will be dealt with immediately. Extra
police/and or probations resources are added to ensure that the legal system does keep its promises.
• Boston’s operation ceasefire: developed due to increase homicide rates among the young African
American males in Boston. Police, and many of the other community association all came together and told
them that this cannot happen any longer. Result showed 63% decline in homicides rates ( many offenders also liked it as gave them excuse of not to commit crime) .When the program was dropped, everything
returned to previous level’s
• Project hope: designed by a judge to reduce high level of rates of noncompliance with probations
condition requiring abstinence from drugs. Any violation of terms by the judge was met with severe
consequences. They were put in jail for few days and then placed back on probations. Result showed that
the rate of positive drug results droped from 53▯4%.
• Winipeg auto theft supervision strategy: lead to decrease theft of cars as well.
• Thus intensive community supervision can lead to both less crimes and lower prison costs. Thus policies
that INCREASE the CERTAINTY rather then severity are better in deterring crimes.
Rational choice theory:
• Rational choice theory: claims the crime is the result of deliberate choice made by offenders based on
their calculations of the risks and the rewards of these choices.
• The basic assumption is that crime is purposive behavior designed to meet the offenders need for things like
money etc. while calculating the risks for doing such things.
• It does NOT focus on the person’s background but rather the situational dynamics involved in whether or
not to commit a crime.
• They also believe that NOT all crimes result from the same social process. Thus analyses of particular
crime problem are key to creating a prevention programs. Factors to commit crimes can vary within the
same category (professional thief vs. 14 years old for fun)
• Offender behavior is typically based on shortterm benefits rather the long term considerations.
• Extension of the above theory
• Criminal has activities patterns, and the environmental opportunities they encounter in the course of these
activities influence their decision to commit particular criminal acts.
• These criminal opportunities are shaped by the road networks and other facts that shape potential criminal
daily routines. Even if not activity seeking, they can take advantages of vulnerability they encounter in the
course of their daily affairs.
• Researcher analyzed the crime patterns in terms of nodes, paths, and edges.
• Nodes: important places to would be offenders like home, work, and socializing places.
• Paths: routes that connect the two nodes. They are vulnerable to crime.
• Edges: boundaries btw different type of land use. Like a road btw industrial area and the residential
• Crimes are higher in these area because of the lack of social control
Routine activities theory:
• Routine and the rational both consider the circumstances of the crimina