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NCJ Number: 182046 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Deterrence and Sentence Severity: An Analysis of Recent Research
Author(s): Andrew von Hirsch; Anthony E. Bottoms; Elizabeth Burney; P-O Wikstrom
Corporate Author: University of Cambridge
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1999
Page Count: 65
Sponsoring Agency: International Specialized Book Services
Portland, OR 97213-3644
University of Cambridge
Cambridge, CB3 9DT, England
Publication Number: ISBN 84113-0511-6
Sale Source: International Specialized Book Services
5804 NE Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Literature Review
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This literature review focuses on recent research on deterrence, with emphasis on the marginal deterrent effects of changing the certainty of punishment and the marginal deterrent effects of altering the severity of punishment through changes in sentencing policy, with emphasis on studies conducted in Great Britain and the United States.
Abstract: Results revealed negative statistical associations between certainty of punishment and crime rates. However, the statistical associations between severity of punishment and crime rates are considerably weaker. Current understanding of marginal deterrent effects is still limited. However, a notable difference exists between certainty and severity effects. Current research confirms earlier correlational and quasi-experimental studies and indicates consistent and significant negative correlations between the likelihood of conviction and crime rates. The data on severity effects is less impressive. Findings indicate the desirability of considering deterrence policies with respect to the policies’ costs, the likelihood of substantial deterrent benefits and the possibility of counterproductive effects, possible tensions with proportionality concerns, and possible alternative preventive strategies. Finally, future studies need to use measures that adequately distinguish between certainty and severity effects and that focus on international comparisons, perceptions of sanction risk, and specific aspects of perceptual and contextual deterrence. Footnotes, reference notes, explanation of terms, and 108 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Crime control policies; Deterrence effectiveness; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Offender attitudes; Punishment; Services effectiveness; United States of America; US/foreign comparisons
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