Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Chris E. Marshall
Deterrence is the straightforward, commonsense notion that if you do something wrong, you will be punished, and the punishment itself will prevent you from doing that wrong thing again. According to this notion, fear of a future punishment dictates the actions people choose. This way of thinking is commonplace, and it underpins much—if not most—political discourse and public policy debate. Moreover, it is a main-stay of American foreign military policy, implying to potential enemies that the wrong actions they take will incur the wrath of American military might. Deterrence also plays a very important role in criminological empirical research. Empirical research in the area of deterrence is well elaborated in modern criminology. That research seeks to determine the accuracy of assumptions about deterrence and its effectiveness. Furthermore, it examines criminal punishment policy to see how adjusting levels and types of punishment practice may alter it to lower crime. Unfortunately, the ...