Saturday, 25 October 2014

Morality 11: Purposes of Punishment - Deterrence

Higher RMPS Podcast
Purposes of Punishment - Deterrence

This is available as an MP3 or to download as a podcast through iTunes
for Desktop and Apple devices, as well as PodcastHD for Android Devices.


Don’t do your homework and you’ll be warned; still don’t hand it in and you may get detention.  Why?  In Thailand if you are caught with a quantity of drugs that could be considered enough to supply others then you are sentenced to death.  In the US they also have mandatory sentences for crack cocaine that other drugs, such as heroine etc., don’t have.  These punishments are so severe to act as a deterrence.  Deter means to discourage someone from doing something.  Deterrence punishments are meant to discourage people from committing crimes.  It is meant to scare, to warn, and to persuade you to choose a different path.  It’s a sentiment that is popular amongst the public, make the sentence so harsh that no one will think about committing the crime.

Strengths: People are generally in favour of harsher sentences for harsher crimes.  If people know there are harsher sentence then it may make some think twice.

Weaknesses: Studies have shown deterrence sentences to be ineffective.  Moreover they tend to disproportionately target the poor.  Criminals don’t expect to be caught so why would they care about harsher sentences?  The gamble, to them, is worth it.

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