Deterrence And The Death Penalty

3425 Words Apr 6th, 2015 14 Pages
Running head: Deterrence and the

Deterrence and the Death Penalty
Sherelle Gordon
Virginia State University

Deterrence and the Death Penalty
The idea of capital punishment deterring crime is difficult to determine; some could rationalize that the death penalty should in theory stop potential murders from committing crimes. However, this rationalization has never been concretely proven. The research into capital punishment’s effect on deterrence is immense; however, the majority of research on this issue has differential findings. Although some research suggests conclusively that capital punishment deters crime, others found that it fails to do this. Understanding deterrence, the death penalty, and the results of studies that measure deterrence in regards to capital punishment is fundamental in formulating a solid idea, on the issues involving deterring crime. When reviewing the deterrence theory there are two individuals coined with the creation of the deterrence theory.
Cesare Beccaria’s 1764 essay, On Crimes and Punishments and Jeremy Bentham’s 1789, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, laid the foundation for the deterrence theory (Paternoster, 2010). Beccaria suggested the incentive to perpetrate an offense is initiated due to omnipresent self-interest; Beccaria called this “the despotic spirit,” which Beccaria believed was within every man (as cited in Paternoster, 2010). Beccaria proposed that the motivation to commit a…

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