Deterrence Theory Is The Rational Choice Theory

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Deterrence theory is the basis and the ultimate desired outcome to deter crime in the United States (Feldmeyer, 2015). That has not always been true. There has been a period in U.S. history, 1960’s and 1970’s that Rehabilitation Theory was considered the method of choice (Feldmeyer, 2015). Rehabilitation Theory, including treatment, was to treat the “illness” rather than place heavier sanctions such as incapacitation. Even though Rehabilitation is not the predominate approach used today, it is still a viable choice to curb criminals appetite to offend others. The close contender to Deterrence Theory is the Rational Choice Theory. Rational Choice Theory uses the premise of “free will” (Brown, 2013). That the offender has a choice of whether to commit a crime or not because the offender is not confined to just one choice. That his choice would bring more pleasure (Brown, 2013). We can classify deterrence in two categories: either formal, such as prison and jail sentences, or informal such as effects on offender’s job. Research has shown that informal sanctions have a greater determent than formal sanctions (Feldmeyer, 2015). The main arguments of deterrence and rational choice theories are: deterrence was a theory using punishment to control offenders committing crime. Punishment has been used as a means as a deterrent since the medieval days. Later, with the advent of the enlightenment era, it was pointed out that offenders have “free will”, as in the Rational Choice
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