Classical Deterrence Theory : An Examination Essay

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Classical Deterrence Theory: An Examination of Four Empirical Studies Testing it and its Utility in the Modern World
Natalya E. Zide
California State University, Bakersfield

Classical Deterrence Theory: An Examination of Four Empirical Studies Testing it and its Utility in the Modern World In the 1700s, crime was rampant across every town in every country. Constables formed small patrols from volunteers in the community and it would not be until 1829 that the first police department in the world would be established. In these early days, there was no uniformity to the punishments given for crimes, but extremely severe punishments were common. It was during this time that Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham were born.
Beccaria and Bentham were strong advocates against the death penalty and other overly severe punishments. In 1764, Beccaria published Of Crimes and Punishments and was one of the first to propose an alternative criminal justice system that was built on rational principles aimed for the determent of crime. It was in this book that Beccaria presented arguments against severe punishments and declared the importance of certainty in punishment (Beccaria, 1746). In 1789, Bentham published his own book, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, and proposed what would soon form the foundation to utilitarianism. He discussed how humans measured the value of pleasurable things versus those that caused pain. Bentham argued that

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