Article

Searching for Sasquatch: Deterrence of Crime Through Sentence Severity

Cheryl Marie Webster and Anthony N. Doob

in The Oxford Handbook of Sentencing and Corrections

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199730148
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199730148.013.0007

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Searching for Sasquatch: Deterrence of Crime Through Sentence Severity

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This article considers the deterrence perspective, specifically the marginal deterrent impact of increased sentence severity. It introduces the “deterrence through severity” (DTS) thesis, which states that crime may be decreased by increasing the severity of the punishments. It studies the empirical evidence on the effectiveness of DTS policies, and then tries to show that DTS still is a prominent sentencing goal in many jurisdictions. It also considers some possible explanations for the coexistence of the general belief in DTS and its lack of empirical evidence. Finally, this article discusses the results of continuing DTS despite the lack of support for its effectiveness.

Keywords: deterrence perspective; sentence severity; deterrent impact; effectiveness; DTS thesis; empirical evidence

Article.  10032 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Theories of Crime ; Courts and Procedure

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