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NCJ Number: 74976 Find in a Library
Title: Deterrent Effects of Formal and Informal Sanctions (From Policy Implementation, 1980, P 69-88, John Brigham and Don W Brown, ed. - See NCJ-74975)
Author(s): H Jacob
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article addresses the deterrent effects of formal (legal) and informal (social) sanctions in preventing criminal behavior; peer pressures and perceptions of the legitimacy of the law, as well as knowledge of the laws themselves are examined.
Abstract: Through a survey of a random telephone sample of Evanston, Ill, residents, the study obtained 17 responses on the subjects' experiences with relatively minor offenses, such as speeding and marijuana smoking. All offenses were more likely to be committed as the result of calculation than by impulse. The respondents, predominantly well-educated persons, did not appear to perceive formal sanctions as a substantial possibility, hence their deterrent value was weak. However, when the prospect of formal sanctions was combined with peer pressure and possible damage to the subjects' self-image (conscience), people indicated compliance with traffic and marijuana laws. Findings showed that more persons knew about the severity of sanctions against speeding than against marijuana use. Evidence also indicated that peer pressure can work toward weakening the deterrence of formal sanctions for individuals living in a social circle of law violators. Knowledge of the law can also act as a deterrent, although indirectly (i.e., lack of such knowledge may produce violations). Tabular data are provided in the text and 14 references are appended. For related articles, see NCJ 74975.
Index Term(s): Criminal codes; Deterrence
Note: Revised version of a paper presented at the 1979 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association
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