Deterrence And The Death Penalty

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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
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Beccaria suggested if the punishments were done immediately after the crime, then these punishments would make for a more effective legal system (as cited in Paternoster, 2010).
According to Paternoster (2010), the majority of Beccaria’s original deterrence ideals concluded that self-interest to commit an offense could be stopped by legal punishments that are definite, relational, and immediate. Paternoster (2010), determined that Beccaria provided the rational authority with applied strategies to make legal systems more cogent and effective. However, according to Paternoster (2010), Beccaria fell short in providing a developed theory of crime or criminal conduct; he also failed to provide a theory of behavior other than the conception that offenses are motivated by self-interest.
Alternatively, Paternoster (2010), suggested that Bentham displayed a more developed deterrence theory model of human conduct. Bentham identified that human behavior is directed by the pursuance of pleasure and the evasion of pain (as cited in Paternoster, 2010). Bentham’s pleasure principle is defined by the benefits; while the pain principle is the costs (as cited in Paternoster, 2010). Bentham specified four elements of pleasure and pain; physical, political, moral or popular, and religious (as
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