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NCJ Number: 160209 Find in a Library
Title: Choosing Crime: Close Your Eyes and Take Your Chances (From Criminal Justice in America: Theory, Practice, and Policy, P 38- 50, 1996, Barry W Hancock and Paul M Sharp, eds. -- See NCJ- 160206)
Author(s): K D Tunnell
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Prentice-Hall, Inc
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Sale Source: Prentice-Hall, Inc
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined criminal decisionmaking among a sample of 60 male habitual property offenders to determine how they assessed sanction threats prior to committing a property crime.
Abstract: Each respondent was serving at least his second prison term for felony property crimes, with at least one of the offenses having been either burglary or armed robbery; each respondent was at least 25 years old. Interviews produced 60 detailed descriptions of how the offenders reached the decision to commit a crime. The descriptions focused on the most recent and most typical crime they had committed, the context within which they reached the decision to commit the crime, and their method of assessing the perceived risks and rewards of committing the crime. Three themes were most common in explaining the absence of deterrent effects on these respondents' actions. First, they believed they would not be caught for their crimes; the most active offenders knew from personal experience that the probability of being arrested and convicted was low. Second, they believed that if they were caught, they would be imprisoned for a relatively short time. Third, they considered prison to be a nonthreatening environment. These findings suggest that although harsh penalties may deter those who either do not commit crime or do so infrequently, they do not deter habitual offenders. 41 references, questions for discussion, and suggested student applications of the material
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Criminal methods; Decisionmaking; Deterrence effectiveness; Habitual offenders; Property crimes
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