Criminal Deterrence and Sentencing Severity
The Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge recently undertook a comprehensive study of the literature on criminal deterrence, concentrating on recent research. The result, published in this book, examines the popular claim that deterrence works. That it works in general terms is beyond dispute, but the claim most favored by law-makers is narrower: that tougher sentences has a direct impact on criminal behavior, limiting the number and severity of offenses committed. This study seeks to discover the truth of that claim. Deterrence is a penal aim, is a broad subject, hence the authors of this work decided to look at two elements of recent research. First they looked at studies which examine the marginal deterrent offects of changing the certainty of punishment, that is , of altering the likelihood of and offender's being apprehended and convicted for a crime. Secondly, they looked at studies of the marginal deterrent effects of altering the severity of punishment through changes in sentencing policy. It is their evaluation and analysis of the latter which is the principal focus of the work, and which will make the book essential reading for all those interested in sentencing and penal policy.
Publication Date: 12/1/1999
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