Specific Deterrence

Topics: Crime, Criminal law, Criminology Pages: 5 (673 words) Published: September 15, 2014

Specific Deterrence
Critical Thinking Critique
Your name
Park University

Author Note
This paper was prepared for Criminology CJ200,taught by Professor____________. The theory of specific deterrence holds that criminal sanctions should be so powerful that known criminals will never repeat their criminal acts. Critical Thinking

The theory of specific deterrence holds that criminal sanctions should be powerful enough that convicted criminals will never repeat the criminal acts. However, research has not provided clear evidence that punishing criminals with high sanctions is an effective way of stopping them from committing future crimes. In the other hand people that are harshly punished might become defiant instead, perhaps as a way of objecting that they won’t let themselves be stopped or broken. A study made in Minneapolis by researchers Lawrence Sherman and Richard Berk, resulted on finding that domestic violence offenders that were arrested only feared punishment initially. Arrest, temporally deterred them from the crime but they became angry and more violent when they saw that the punishment wasn’t harsh. (Siegel, 2010) We’ve probably heard of women that have been killed by their partners. They were victims of domestic violence; a family member might come forward and say, “The police never did anything”. That complaint is not necessarily true, many times the punishment received didn’t deterred the assailant to change his ways, and instead he became very violent and enraged because she “put the cops on him”. The criminal then is arrested again, but now faces a longer sentence for worst criminal charges. Perhaps there needs to be more exposure to information that can potentially help to prevent crimes.

Threat communication is a way of spreading information and can have great impact. First, sanction publicity needs to be provided by mass media to announce any modification of criminal penalties. Second, police visibility, like the “cop on the corner”. Third, sanction enforcement through arrest, prosecution, and sentencing ensures that a penalty is applied as intended. Sanction risk perceptions, are substantially correlated with punishments as long as the punishments are publicized and enforced. Sanction risk perceptions can potentially have other influences, including media coverage of high profile criminal trials, televised crime dramas, conditions of urban decay, etc. Sanction risk perceptions can also be shaped by experiences from family members, or friends, etc. (Apel, 2013) Ultimately according to researchers Morral and Jackson, it is necessary to quantify deterrence to track progress. When deliberating deterrence strategies, we want to know answers to three questions: 1. What is the extent to which the attacker is deterred,

2. What is the risk reduction, or change in expected defender loss resulting from that deterrence strategy, and 3. What are the cost implications, or defender deterrence investment efficiency, of that deterrence strategy. (Taquechel, 2012) Specific deterrence can be a very complex method because some criminals will react positively, while others will not change. This can turn out to be a serious problem when the enemy is another country. Our military is capacitated and trained to fight the threats to the United States. The Defense Strategic Guidance (DSG) sets a general goal: “The Joint Force will be prepared to confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.” Thankfully the government works hard to “deter and defeat aggression”. (Johnson, 2014)

Overall I think that many of the techniques and methods implemented might help to deter criminals from committing future crimes. However, if a criminal likes or wants their criminal life style, no powerful or harsh punishments can change or stop him. There can be many sanctions and punishments, but if a criminal does not change himself, nothing will change him.

Apel, Robert. (2013)....

References: Apel, Robert. (2013). Sanctions, Perceptions, and Crime: Implications for Criminal Deterrence. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 29, 67-101. DOI: 10.1007/s10940-012-9170-1.
Johnson, M., Kelly, T. K. (2014). Tailored Deterrence. JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly. 74, 22-29. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.pegleg.park.edu/
Siegel, L. J. (2011). Criminology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Taquechel, E. F., Lewis, T. G. (2012). How to Quantify Deterrence and Reduce Critical Infrastructure Risk. Homeland Security Affairs, 8, 1-27. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.pegleg.park.edu/
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