Specific and General Deterrence and More Punishments Discussion

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Of the 5 purposes of punishment listed in your readings for this week, which do you believe are the most important to the prevention of crime and promoting a civil society?

How does this article impact your thinking on this issue? Eduardo Portel, In the U.S., Punishment Comes Before the Crimes, April 29, 2014 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/business/economy/in-the-us-punishment-comes-before-the-crimes.html (last accessed May 10, 2018)

Specific and General Deterrence

Deterrence prevents future crime by frightening the defendant or the public. The two types of deterrence are specific and general deterrence. Specific deterrence applies to an individual defendant. When the government punishes an individual defendant, he or she is theoretically less likely to commit another crime because of fear of another similar or worse punishment. General deterrence applies to the public at large. When the public learns of an individual defendant’s punishment, the public is theoretically less likely to commit a crime because of fear of the punishment the defendant experienced. When the public learns, for example, that an individual defendant was severely punished by a sentence of life in prison or the death penalty, this knowledge can inspire a deep fear of criminal prosecution.


Incapacitation prevents future crime by removing the defendant from society. Examples of incapacitation are incarceration, house arrest, or execution pursuant to the death penalty.


Rehabilitation prevents future crime by altering a defendant’s behavior. Examples of rehabilitation include educational and vocational programs, treatment center placement, and counseling. The court can combine rehabilitation with incarceration or with probation or parole. In some states, for example, nonviolent drug offenders must participate in rehabilitation in combination with probation, rather than submitting to incarceration.Ariz. Rev. Stat. §13-901.01, accessed February 15, 2010, http://law.justia.com/arizona/codes/title13/00901-01.html. This lightens the load of jails and prisons while lowering recidivism, which means reoffending.


Retribution prevents future crime by removing the desire for personal avengement (in the form of assault, battery, and criminal homicide, for example) against the defendant. When victims or society discover that the defendant has been adequately punished for a crime, they achieve a certain satisfaction that our criminal procedure is working effectively, which enhances faith in law enforcement and our government.


Restitution prevents future crime by punishing the defendant financially. Restitution is when the court orders the criminal defendant to pay the victim for any harm and resembles a civil litigation damages award. Restitution can be for physical injuries, loss of property or money, and rarely, emotional distress. It can also be a fine that covers some of the costs of the criminal prosecution and punishment.

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Prevention of Crime
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Punishment is one of the ways that is used to prevent crime in the society. There are 5
different types of punishment, that is, rehabilitation, restitution incapacitation, deterrence, and
retribution. All of them serve the purpose of punishment and deterring crime. However, all of them
differ in the approach that they use. In my opinion, retribution and rehabilitation are the ones I find
most effective when it comes to preventing crimes as well as promoting a civil society.
Retribution and Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation will be able to prevent crime since it changes a person’s behavior. The main
assumption of rehabilitation is that a person can ...

This is great! Exactly what I wanted.


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