Theory 101 Organizing Theory Theoretical Traditions Macro and Micro Level Theories 1 Neoclassical Criminology The Classical School + Rebirth Deterrence Theory Rational Choice Theory 2 Before the Classical School of
Criminology Prior to the 1700s The devil made me do it It was gods will Justice system? Torture to confess, new laws created by judges after the fact Punishments/
Crime severity not equal to punishment severity Painful corporal and capital punishments 3 The Classical School of Criminology The Age of Enlightenment (1750-1850) Beccaria, Bentham & others: Need for A Rational Punishment System Hedonistic Calculus God grants individuals free will Possible to control behavior through formal punishment SWIFT AND CERTAIN A BIT MORE SEVERE THAN GAIN FROM CRIME
4 The Classical School Fades By the early 1900s, most dismissed this as a valid theory of criminal behavior Changes in legal system didnt lower crime rates Armchair theorizing questioned Humans as determined rather than rational From early 1900s until the 1970s, the positive school was unchallenged
Sociology was dominant force (search for root cause) REBIRTH in the 70s and 80s Social Context of late early 1970s Martinson Report and the nothing works attack on rehabilitation Quote about deterrence theory Thinking About Crime by James Q. Wilson attacks view that crime is a function of external forces Wilson proposes a forceful reaction to crime, otherwise, those sitting on the fence will get the idea that crime
pays Policy analysis (political scientist) = what are the realistic policy choices of a government? 6 Neoclassical Language All of these are justifications for punishment Deterrence Theory Incapacitation Just Deserts / Retribution Only deterrence is a theory of crime
7 Deterrence Theory ASSUMPTIONS Hedonistic Calculus Humans are rational, thoughtful, critters, and consider the consequences of our actions Fear of formal punishment is the key restraint for crime Banking on police and prisons as primary concern of a potential criminal
8 Types of Deterrence General vs. Specific Deterrence Who is being deterred? Can operate at macro level or micro level Macro = compare cities, states, countries Micro = individuals Absolute vs. Marginal effects
Almost all tests are of marginal increases in punishment 9 General Deterrence Research Objective Measures of Severity Severity Death penalty, sentence length, time served Certainty Clearance rate/arrest rate research Possible tipping effect found in studies of FL and PN Modest crime decline with clearance rate >30-40%
10 Manipulation of Certainty The Kansas Preventative Patrol Experiment Samuel Walkers mayonnaise theory of police patrolling. But, directed patrols and saturation patrols may be effective Houston Preventative Patrol Experiment Ann Maahs theory of mayonnaise 11
Saturation Patrols / Other Crackdowns Upside With sufficient numbers, they can suppress serious crime Downsides? Crime displacement and/or rebound Citizen-police relationships Long term effects on residents
12 Focused Deterrence David Kennedy Deterrence and Crime Prevention Operation Ceasefire (Boston) Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence Program Features Notification (call-in, tell offenders) Threat + Follow Through
Pulling levers (Al Capone style) 13 Focused Deterrence II Upside Unlike saturation patrols or other zero tolerance policing, this is more of a surgical strike Build community support (instead of anger) Downside Appears to be hard to maintain Keep competing agencies working together, keep threat real
Evidence of effectiveness isnt real firm 14 Perceptual Measures of General Deterrence Ask people on surveys: What are the odds that you would get apprehended if you did __________ How severely would you be punished if you did _________ Those who think the odds of apprehension are high and the penalties are severe should be less
criminal HOWEVER: Largely an EXPERIENTIAL Effect (criminal experience perceptions) 15 Manipulating Perceptions of SeverityScared Straight! Juvenile Awareness Project Help (JAPH) Rahway Prison, NJ (created in 1976) The Program Intimidate kids (delinquents?) and show them how
bad prisons are Tour of prison, rap session with lifers Scared Straight! Documentary Claimed success rate of 94%, won Academy Award, immensely popular with public Redone by MTV in 1999. Claimed 12/14 (86%) were scared straight Redone in 2011 on A&E as Beyond Scared Straight 16 Things to watch tomorrow Effort made by inmates to convince the kids that
Sanctions (prison) are very painful There is a high certainty that the kids will end up in prison if they dont stop committing crime Well look at the evidence after the film 17 SPECIFIC DETERRENCE Individuals who are caught and sanctioned by the criminal justice system will be less likely to re-offend Does prison reduce recidivism? Do deterrence based programs reduce
recidivism? BOOT CAMPS INTENSIVE PROBATION 18 Boot Camps Nature of Boot Camp (BC) Relation to Deterrence Theory Other vague theories tied into (BC) Evidence
Over 35 experiments of reasonable quality conducted Most find no difference, the few that find differences go both ways Some evidence that BC with strong rehab component and good aftercare reduces crime 19 Intensive Supervision Probation The nature of ISP Make probation meaner Tie to deterrence
Pain + Reduced opportunity to offend RAND experiment 10 sites across country with random assignment No difference in arrest for new crimes ISP groups much more likely to get technical violations 20 Minneapolis domestic violence study (Larry Sherman) Randomly assign d.v. strategies to police officers
Arrest, Counsel, or Separate for 8 hours Arrest as painful deterrent Findings: Arrest = 10% re-arrested after 3 months Counseling = 19% Separate = 24% BUT: Replications not supportive May work better with people who are tied to community 21 What about JOE?
22 Joes Study University of Arizona Money from Joe to see whether his jails reduced crime Comparison of cohorts of inmates pre-Joe and during-Joe There was no difference in recidivism rates 23
Conclusions Regarding Empirical Support Weak empirical support If anything, the certainty of punishment may have marginal effects on crime Clearance rate, focused deterrence, etc. WHY SO WEAK? Based on weak theoryweak assumptions Limits of deterrence in a democratic society MARGINAL vs. ABSOLUTE
24 Policy Implications of Deterrence Rehabilitation, (unless painful) wont work, and may send the wrong message Raising the certainty, swiftness or severity of criminal penalties will work If system cannot be swift, severe and certain enough, then reduce opportunities for offending Incapacitation 25 Incapacitation A thug in prison cant shoot your sister
Easy (thought expensive) to dowe have the technology Common sense/logic dictates that some crime reduction will be achieved 26 Incapacitation II How well does it work?
Comparing states to each other Projecting crime savings from surveys of people entering jails Examining states that are forced to release inmates Works best for high rate offenses (burglary, robbery, theft)not at all for homicide Doubling prison population from 400K to 800K reduced robbery by 18% 27 Incapacitation III Downsides
Least effective for crimes that most scare Americans (rape, homicide) EXPENSIVE Marginal effectsthe more you do it the less it works. Fighting the age crime curve May be counter productive over long term (nothing positive happening in prison) 28 What About Informal Sanctions? Fear of Informal Sanctions is not Deterrence theory.
Informal social control theory (Hirschi, others) However, formal sanctions may kick in informal sanctions. Arrest may disappoint parents Prison may alienate family/friends 29
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