Beyond deterrence

Strategies of focus and fairness

Authored by: David M. Kennedy , Mark A. R. Kleiman , Anthony A. Braga

Handbook of Crime Prevention and Community Safety

Print publication date:  July  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138851054
eBook ISBN: 9781315724393
Adobe ISBN:


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Deterrence is a venerable, simple, and powerful idea. Few people knowingly touch hot stoves, play in traffic, or commit crimes while police officers stand nearby. It is also a hard idea to like. At a basic level, consequences – and, the basis of deterrence, the prospect of consequences – matter. Most everyone – the authors included – would prefer a world in which the public safety could be ensured without making threats of punishment and delivering on those threats. Even for those – the authors also included – who are resigned to living in a world less perfect than that, the excesses of especially the American criminal justice system in attempting to produce deterrence, and the mechanistic economic frameworks lately used to frame and actually execute it, can make the idea of deterrence distasteful.

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