deter a convicted
offender from similarly reoffending; and
* discourage others from
offending in the same manner.
Specific deterrencemeans discouraging the particular
offender from committing more criminal offences.
refers to the idea that potential
offenders in the community will be discouraged from committing a particular
crime when they become aware of the penalty imposed for that kind of offence.
"In June 2007, a paper titled 'The
Death Penalty Deters Crime and Saves Lives' was delivered by
David Muhlhausen (Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis at The Heritage
Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis) before the
Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights of the
Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate.
That paper provided cogent evidence from a welter of earlier
analysis, as well as David Muhlhausen's research findings based on
'multiple data' collection
points, that "....capital punishment
produces a strong deterrent effect that saves lives":
Such patent plea bargaining (pleading
guilty to a lesser offence) evidences that a lot of people on a charge of murder would sooner accept a
lengthy jail sentence, rather that run the risk in a contested murder trial of being
found guilty and thence sentenced to death.
'death penalty' is a cogent Deterrent to committing homicide."
"The results are boldly clear: executions deter murders and murder rates
increase substantially during moratoriums. The results are consistent across
before-and-after comparisons and regressions regardless of the data’s
aggregation level, the time period, or the specific variable used to measure
The evidence from
empirical studies of deterrence suggests that the threat of imprisonment
generates a small
general deterrent effect.
However, the research also indicates that increases in the severity of
penalties, such as increasing the length of terms of imprisonment, do not
produce a corresponding increase in deterrence.
It has been
suggested that harsher penalties do not deter because many crimes are
committed in circumstances where it is difficult to identify when, or if,
offenders have considered the consequences of their criminal behaviour. In
addition, otherwise rational individuals are more strongly influenced by the
perceived immediate benefits of committing crime and individuals ‘discount’
the cost of future penalties.
finding in deterrence research is that increases in the
certainty of apprehension and
punishment demonstrate a significant deterrent effect. Perceptions about the
certainty of apprehension, for example, may counter the ‘present bias’ and
reinforce the potential cost of committing crime. This result is qualified
by the need for further research that separates deterrable from non-deterrable
specific deterrence shows
that imprisonment has, at best, no effect on the rate of reoffending and
often results in a greater rate of recidivism. Possible explanations for
this include that:
a) prison is a learning
environment for crime,
b) prison reinforces criminal
identity and may diminish or sever social ties that encourage lawful
c) imprisonment is not the
appropriate response to many offenders who require treatment for the
underlying causes of their criminality (such as drug, alcohol and mental
conditions do not generate a greater deterrent effect, and the evidence
shows that such conditions may lead to more violent reoffending.
evidence on the effectiveness of imprisonment as a deterrent to crime
suggests that the purposes of sentencing should be considered independently
– according to their own merits – and that caution should be exercised if
imprisonment is to be justified as a means of deterring all crimes and all
kinds of offenders."
One of the fundamental principles on which the criminal justice
system is based is that of deterrence. It has become an article of faith that
a person's decision to commit an act of violence will depend upon his or her perception of the
probability of detection and punishment, the likely severity of that punishment, and, to a
lesser extent, the speed with which that punishment will take place."
Below are two extracts from
that evidences that jail sentences are not an effective Deterrent to the
majority of Australians continuing to commit further criminal offences:
"Goodbun had initially planned to murder his
wife, kill himself and burn down the Horseshoe
Bend property. He had also considered firing his
remaining bullets at the first police officers
to arrive on scene, but changed his mind when he
realised “they’ve got a job to do”.
Besides, Goodbun thought, he would be quite
happy to go to jail.
“I can go to jail for 30 f---ing years and
get a bed and breakfast every day,” Goodbun told
detectives during his police interview. “I know
where I’m going. And I’m quite f---ing happy
about it, I tell you, quite happy about it.”
In sentencing Keith Goodbun, 62, to at least 31
year's jail, Justice Helen Wilson said Goodbun
committed a premeditated, cruel and deeply
"motivated by deep
Below is an extract from
Caning in Singapore a country which has an exceeding low crime rate because Punishment for
crimes less than Murder of Drug Trafficking (for males aged up to 50 years) is whipping
across the bare buttocks with a flexible cane,
known as the
Rattan, that is swiftly administered, frightening, painful and with a 'low economic
cost' to the taxpayer:
a widely used form of legal corporal
punishment in Singapore.
It can be divided into several contexts: judicial, prison, reformatory,
military, school, and domestic or private. These practices of caning are
largely a legacy of, and are influenced by, British
colonial rule in Singapore. Similar
forms of corporal punishment are also used in some other former British
colonies, including two of Singapore's neighbouring countries, Malaysia and Brunei.
Of these, judicial
caning, for which Singapore is best known, is the most severe. It is
reserved for male convicts under the age of 50, for a wide range of offences
under the Criminal
Procedure Code, and is also used as a disciplinary measure in prisons.
Caning is also a legal form of punishment for delinquent servicemen in the Singapore
Armed Forces (SAF) and is conducted in the SAF Detention Barracks.
Caning is also used as an official punishment in reform
In a milder form, caning is used to punish male students in primary and
secondary schools for serious misbehaviour. The government encourages this
but does not allow caning for female students, who instead receive
alternative forms of punishment such as detention.
A much smaller cane or other implement is also used by some parents to
punish their children for misbehaving. This is allowed in Singapore but "not
encouraged by the government". However, the government mentioned that it
considers "the judicious application of corporal punishment in the best
interest of the child.""
Singapore - two adjacent and closely linked members of the Commonwealth
of Nations in South-East Asia have materially lower crime rates per capita p.a.
than Australia, the UK, Brazil and Canada, that no longer carry out the death penalty.
The prospect of a convicted murderer being flogged with -
(a) 3 lashes of the Cat 'O
Tails liberally struck upon the bare back above the kidneys; and
(b) 3 canings of an
AustralianRattan liberally struck upon the bare buttocks below the
(6 lashes in toto), and
seven days later hung by the neck until dead, would materially increase the Detrimental
effect upon others similarly inclined from performing a vicious murder.
"One of the strongest arguments for the death penalty is based on the concept of
deterrence of crime. The deterrence theory is based on the understanding that
criminals are deterred if the consequences of a crime outweigh the benefits.
Researchers claim that humans are basically aware of the differences between
rights and wrong and as such the commission of crime is a free choice involving
choices based on consequences of actions. As such, the proponents argue that
death penalty is an effective deterrence to criminals contemplating committing a
capital offense. These analysts argue hat the death penalty creates fear in the
mind of potential offenders given the harsh punishment.
The other argument for death penalty is based on the understanding that it
eliminates villains and habitual killers from the society who would otherwise
continue to harass people. The proponents argue that when a criminal is executed
he no longer poses any threat. This follows the logical argument that the
execution of killers and other radical offenders would contribute to safer
societies, Banner (2002, p.60).
The third argument for the death punishment is based on the cost
implications. The proponents of the death penalty argue that confining criminals
to prisons and rehabilitation centers involves expenditure of taxpayers' money.
The costs of death penalty are paltry compared with the enormous expenditure of
public funds and the general impact of release of such people to the societies.
There are arguments that the criminals released may lead to panic and fear in
the society or the recruitment of other criminals which may not be necessarily
quantifiable in terms of costs, David (2006, p.50). As such, the proponents
argue that the death penalty for killers is less costly than other punishments
by all considerations."