Is Deterrence Effective And Efficient?

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Is Deterrence Effective and Efficient?
Joshua A. Barlow
Anderson University

Abstract I will discuss the nuances of the deterrence theory and whether or not it’s a viable form of preventing crime. The reason we have laws and punishments is to deter people from committing crimes. Deterrence is an inherent concept within criminal law. Many believe that people will commit crimes regardless of deterrence and therefore efforts to deter are in vein. I will delve into Cesare Beccaria’s view on deterrence and whether he thought it was practical for decreasing crime. I will talk about deviance and what makes a person deviant. I believe deviance has a direct correlation with deterrence. Lastly I will determine if deterrence is indeed efficient and effective or if it has no effect.

Law, crime, and the concept of deterrence have existed simultaneously for thousands of years. Since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden crime has been a prevalent aspect of society and always will be. Ever since there has been crime and as long as crime exists there will be efforts to deter people from committing crimes. Deterrence relies on fear and doubt to dissuade a person from committing a crime. However, does deterrence work? Many people think that deterrence does not work and tend to follow the logic of the rational choice theory. The rational choice theory says that everyone makes calculated choices based on the risk and the potential reward (Siegel, 2011).
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