Deterrence Theory And The Criminal Justice Field

1578 Words Oct 22nd, 2016 7 Pages
Introduction Deterrence can be defined as an act of threat to prevent another party from certain actions. Deterrence theory is based upon a belief that citizens choose to obey or violate the law after determining the advantages and disadvantages of their actions (Paternoster, 2010). Deterrence, in the criminal justice field, dissuades individuals from criminal activity and from continuing to live a life of crime after committing the first criminal like act (Dutton, 2014). Law enforcement provides sanctions in the form of imprisonment, probation and fines (Paternoster, 2010). In the United States, a practical example of deterrence, when a law enforcement officer writes a traffic ticket to those who speed. The points and the fines that come along with the ticket are a deterrent against citizen’s defying the law. Deterrence theory is applied in two basic types of application, general and specific (Nagin, 2013). General deterrence is designed to prevent crime in the general population (Nagin, 2013). Specific deterrence, focusing on the individual criminal, deters those from violating law or maintaining a life of crime in the future. Punishment of citizens by law enforcement, acts as deterrence for the general population, those who have not yet engaged in criminal activity. The horrors of sanctions serve as a prevention tool in the omission of crime. Years ago public punishments, such as death viewings, were conducted to deter criminal activity within a community. Corporal…
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