discussion

please respond to these 2 classmates 150 word response each

for example .. hey i agree with your post great response – and explain why you agree etc

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response 1-Harsher punishment working to deter crime?. I think the general answer to that is probably not. It seems that most of the studies that have been conducted have concluded the severity of punishments doesn’t have a lot to do with the overall level of crime. For example; the United States has implemented since the 1990s many mandatory minimums right, so these are laws that require that offenders be sentenced to a certain mandatory minimum. Usually, the mandatory minimums are higher than what the offender would typically be convicted with. The studies suggest we have seen a drop in crime, but only a small fraction, maybe 5%, attributed to these mandatory minimums. What can be attributed to the decline in crime over the years? In 1994 President Clinton signed the A3 strikes bill. It mandated life sentences for offenders who had more than two prior convictions. Since then, the amount of violent crimes has been cut by nearly half. However, experts say only a modest amount of the drop in crime can be attributed to Clinton’s bill. A Government Accountability Office report in 2005 found that the biggest reasons for the drop in crime were increased employment, increased police presence, and aging of the population.

To fully understand why harsher and longer punishments don’t deter crime, we need to know how criminals think. I think we give much more significance to the probability of the punishment occurring then we due to its severity. For example, John wants to steal a phone. John isn’t thinking about how long he’d go to jail for theft, but instead, he’s thinking about whether or not he’d get caught stealing the phone. To deter John from stealing in the future, it might make more sense to increase the probability that he’d get caught rather than increase his punishment’s severity. Furthermore, with something as severe as the death penalty be a deterrent? Probably not. Except in atypical or particular circumstances, it turns out that states with the death penalty have had higher murder rates. Studies have shown that if capital punishment has any deterrent effect, it may be too small to be detected. From 1999 to 2012, New York decreased its state prison population by 26% while the nationwide state prison population increased by 10%. During that time, the violent crime rate in New York dropped by 31% while the national rate only drops 26%. New York accomplishes this with a combination of policy and practice changes. Mandatory minimums were reduced, and parole approval rates grew significantly. If politicians are serious about being tough on crime, they should focus on catching criminals rather than more extended senses.

References

response 2 – Harsh punishment does not deter crime; instead, it is the fear of being caught that causes anxiety. When an individual gets incarcerated, while those who fear being in jail or prison for the first time, others such as repeat offenders do not possess these fear types. So, what is deterrence? According to the Blacks Law Dictionary deterrence is, “the act or process of discouraging certain behavior, particularly by fear[1].” We use prison sentencing (incapacitation) to revoke the freedom of individuals convicted; we have probation, the use of parole. The stigma behind what is associated with being a convicted criminal is what causes fear. The ability to never be able to vote, not enter into certain professions, be unable to receive loans and housing, and, most importantly, the inability to get a job as a convicted felon.

During general studies repeatedly, references are made that even with all the convictions and court cases advertised by the media, this still does not deter crime. Individuals are still engaging in criminal activities. In Chris Watt’s case, he is not the first to murder his entire family. Nevertheless, it did not deter him from doing the same crime others have committed, as he did not care about the punishment; he did it regardless. In his mind, regardless, he would have gotten caught or not despite his girls’ pleas and despite the laws and previous convictions of others with the knowledge that he would never walk free and spend the rest of his life behind bars. Heis sentenced to two consecutive life in prison without the possibility of parole and forty-eight years for the murder of his unborn child.

Harsh punishments do not achieve deterrence; it merely intensifies the level of crime committed even more. Statistically speaking, crime rates go down, but the jail or prison system somehow increases. “Deterrence theory suggests that threats of punishment or actually experiencing punishment should reduce the likelihood of re-offending. Punishment, after all, has worked for us. Punishment plays a central role in socialization, learning to be civil, social beings. Therein lies the flaw in the thinking—criminal offenders are not like us. Their circumstances and experiences typically differ in fundamental ways from the non-offending population[2]” (Kelly, 2018). The use of harsh punishment as deterrence is not feasible because most of whom are committing criminal activities are young individuals who are not aware of these sanctions. Individuals who typically commit crimes are those suffering from some factor that is not their fault. It is proven that with age, individuals grow out of their criminal mentality. With specific or individual deterrence, harsh punishment is not applicable because it is impossible to track who is most likely to commit a crime, whether in the present tense or the future. As Shakka Senghor stated, “prison sentence and harsh punishment does not achieve a civil citizen. Being treated inhumanely does not give anyone a chance to reform to come back and behave civilly in society; one is more likely to re-offend due to this[3]” (Senghor, 2016).

In conclusion, harsh punishment will not deter criminal activities or crime because persons who commit crimes are either unaware of these sanctions, or based on their circumstances, have no other choice but to engage in these activities to make ends meet. The reality is that harsh punishment only makes it worse and makes the officer’s job harder. You get out what you put in, so if thinking that harsh punishment will deter crime, the system has it backward because this will only cause persons to re-offend because at least in jail or prison, they have food and somewhere to lay their heads while being out walking free many are homeless.

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