Deterrence Theory

Class Correlates of Crime. Rational Choice and Deterrence: Criminal Justice as Rationalism Legalism Readings Use the Akers and Sellers text to read Chapter 2, “Deterrence and Rational Choice Theories,” pages 14–38 Respond one page each (2 question) discussion question and peer Respond to this peer Mr. Young According to Justice and Meares (2014) the criminal justice system “at all levels of government [functions] to encourage compliance with the law, judge alleged breaches, and punish offenses” (p. 159). However, not every citizen is deterred by the potential punishments and sanctions meted out by the criminal justice system. Pogarsky (as cited in Akers and Sellers, 2013) identified three categories of offenders based on their responsiveness to the deterrent measures of the criminal justice system (p. 20). These categories were the acute conformist; the incorrigible offender and the deterrable offender (Pogarsky, as cited in Akers & Sellers, 2013). Pogarsky defined the acute conformist as those indiividuals who complied with the law out of civic duty; incorrigible offenders as those who were undeterred in their efforts to commit crimes; and the deterrable offenders, who are deterred by criminal justice penalties (Pogarsky, as cited in Akers & Sellers, 2013). There is one category of citizens (acute conformist) who comply with the law but do not see the criminal justice system as a deterrence per se. Another category, the deterred offenders, are the only potential offenders who are deterred by the criminal justice system. The remaining category (incorrigible offenders) are those who will not be deterred by the criminal justice system. According to Pogarsky (as cited in Akers & Sellers, 2013) incorrigible offenders are so committed to committing crimes that no amount of corrective measures will deter them from their criminal goals (p. 20). With this understanding, although increased penalties may seem like a solution to the hardened incorrigible offender, according to Pogarsky the effort would be ineffective. References Akers, R. L. & Sellers, C. S. (2013). Criminological theories: Introduction, evaluation, and application (6th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press Justice, B. & Mears, T. L. (2014). How the criminal justice system educates citizens. The Annals of the American Academy of Political Science, 651(1), 159-177. Doi: 10.1177/0002716213502929 Discussion One Deterrence Theory In the field of criminology, varies theories are presented to explain why individuals commit criminal acts. In looking at the ways, some argue as to why criminal continue with behaviors knowing the consequences of punishment. Do you posit that the everyday citizen sees the criminal justice as a deterrence compared to those who practice criminal lifestyles? Does that then convey that the punishments are not rally severe enough to sway the career criminal? Discussion Two Rational Orientation Briefly describe (in 3-4 sentences) the main purpose of criminal justice according to the rational or legal orientation of criminal justice. What are the main assumptions of this orientation. Explain whether or not you share these assumptions and agree or disagree with the stated purpose. If you agree are you able to evaluate the theory in a a scientifically skeptical manner? If you do not agree how are you own assumptions likely to influence your evaluation of the theory? Also respond to this peer Mr. Cornett The main purpose of criminal justice is to study both the theory and application of why crime occurs. This is done through the legal view such as due process and the theoretical foundations of criminal behavior. According to Capella, 2015 rational choice advocates suggest that crime and crime reduction are matters of controlling individual costs and benefits. This is one theory amongst a multitude of theories used to try and determine why such things happen in regards to criminal behavior. I agree with the assertion that people make rational choices and weigh the risk vs. reward so to speak when committing crime. This is particularly true with property crimes. A person who commits burglary must make a conscious decision to do so. Nobody falls through my front door and takes my television by accident. Having said that, the drive to commit the act may not be rational. In that case, if it is fueled by a drug addiction or another vice, is the crime itself a rational choice? I would argue against it being a rational choice and therefore making it more difficult to identify the cost or benefit from the offender. Any mind altering chemical imbalance be it a natural occurrence or a street drug limits a person’s ability to think in a rational manner. In this scenario rational choice is just as much a health issue as a potential criminal issue. Another argument of rational choice is how we as citizens in different states with different laws weigh our costs and benefits. For example, in Washington State a person can walk around with one ounce or 28 grams of dry marijuana product, they can smoke it at their leisure in the privacy of a residence or risk a $108 fine and do it in public. In other states if you have on your person 28 grams of marijuana you are likely to spend a significant amount of time in jail or even go to prison. With that being said, rational choice is also a question of morality and personal freedoms as they pertain to the local laws within each jurisdiction. Reference Akers, R. L. & Sellers, C. S. (2013). Criminological Theories: Introduction, Evaluation, and Application, New York, NY: Oxford University Press

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