Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Stafford, Mark C., and Mark Warr: Deterrence Theory
Stephanie D'Auria & Kirk Williams
The deterrence doctrine has been a mainstay in criminological theory and criminal justice policy since the early writings of Jeremy Bentham and Cesare Beccaria in the 18th century. The doctrine entails the basic assumption that people refrain from crime or reduce their criminal involvement because they fear punishment (Gibbs, 1975). Two types of deterrence have been posited: (1) specific deterrence , meaning the reduction of criminal offending among those directly experiencing punishment, and (2) general deterrence , meaning the omission or reduction of crime among people in the general population indirectly experiencing punishment, that is, perceiving it as threatening. In 1993, Mark Stafford and Mark Warr reconceptualized the deterrence doctrine, arguing that these two types are not solely contingent on the direct or indirect experience of punishment. Punishment avoidance may also yield deterrence. Specifically, punishments imposed or avoided may be felt directly through personal experience or indirectly through the experiences ...