In legal terms, deterrence and recidivism are two common terms used. These two terms have many meaning and it depends on the field that the two terms were utilized. Recidivism is the act of returning to the offense that was previously committed.
It is the repetition or habitual committing on crimes. The word originated from the Latin word recidivus which means recurring. The said term is usually used in criminology. An example of recidivism case is when a sexual offender person who after release from prison does again sexual harassment.Recidivism rate has been a major problem of different countries and solution to the increasing rate on recidivism is being done (MALTZ).
Another term which has relation on recidivism is deterrence. Deterrence is the act of providing necessary punishment on those who commit crime. The degree of the punishment depends also on the degree of the crime that was committed (MALTZ). There are two forms of deterrence, the specific and the general. The former describes deterrence as punishment given only to the individual who committed the crime while the latter describe deterrence as punishment on the general audience.Specific deterrence is also known as individual deterrence.
The general deterrence focuses on general prevention of crime by making examples of specific deviants. The individual actor is not the focus of the attempt at behavioral change, but rather receives punishment in public view in order to deter other individuals from deviance in the future. Deterrence as a major tool in lessening recidivism rate gained many criticisms about its effectiveness. Many said that deterrence, whether it is specific or general, is not effective in decreasing the crime rate in the country.Some studies regarding on the effectiveness of deterrence found that violators are not afraid on the punishment, but rather they are more afraid on the act of caught.
Usually, the offenders are the drug and alcohol abusers. This result was supported on the findings on areas where surveillance cameras were introduced. Possible violators were afraid to be caught from the surveillance cameras thus lowering the rate of crime cases. General deterrence has also been heavily criticized for relying on publicity of heavy punishments; it has been described as "the least effective and least fair principle of sentencing”.
Other countries like the Great Britain believe on rehabilitation procedure rather than Deterrence Theory But why deterrence is still being implemented by many criminal procedures? To answer this question, it is better to examine the principle behind the use of punishment to eradicate crimes. In behavioral psychology, deterrence is theory on introducing punishment for those who violated the law. Today, United States is adopting and implementing this practice in their criminal justice.The principle behind the use of an iron hand for those who committed crime is that, the human will be afraid when introduced to punishment and will refrain from doing it again. Deterrence: Effective or not? This paper will try to analyze the effectiveness if deterrence in minimizing the crime rate or the recidivism among countries. Also, the two types of deterrence, specific and general will be examined.
There were many studies were conducted to address the problem in the rise of recidivism. Part of the studies was the implementation of punishment among the violators.The studies analyze procedure on the implementation as well the effectiveness of the said procedures. According to the study that was made by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, punishment among violators on individuals who are apprehended for driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), or related offenses such as driving after suspension for a DUI and violation of zero tolerance laws found that giving them a sanction is effective in doing the said crimes again. As a matter of fact, many policy makers use punishment to control the rise of crimes on their countries.
They developed laws that will hinder in doing offense or any unlawful act. People are afraid on the punishment like going to jail. The principle behind the use of any kind of punishment is the inculcation or realization of the bad experiences from punishment (Henry, 2007). Specific deterrence has a positive effect on the decrease in the rate of crime cases.
An individual will think again if he or she will do the crime again after the individual had a bad experience of the punishment he or she received earlier.This will make the potential offender afraid on the possible sanction he may incur and will also produce doubt in doing the crime again (Martin & Ellis, 1998). General deterrence also produce a positive effect in relation to the lessening the crime rate in a given place. People will have an idea on the proposed sentence or penalty. The most popular example of general deterrence is going to jail.
The media will broadcast the bad condition of a person in a jail.According to studies, jail imprisonment is more effective as a general deterrent, but it appears to be no more effective as a specific deterrent for reducing DUI recidivism than other sanctions, and it is far more costly (Martin & Ellis, 1998). Another form of deterrence is the administrative license suspension or any other criminal records that will be a problem is any job employment. When a person committed a crime, he or she will have criminal record and when this person will apply for a job, the company he or she is applying will need a criminal clearance, if in United States, an FBI clearance.
When the person applying for the job had a criminal record, the company will hesitate to employ the said individual. This form of deterrence had created an impact in the reduction of recidivism (Martin & Ellis, 1998). To strengthen the argument on the effectiveness of deterrence when it comes to the elimination of recidivism, another study was conducted to determine the effect of the length of imprisonment to the number of law violations.According to Weinrath and Gartrell, they concluded that hat sentence length exerted consistent deterrent effects on repeat drunk driving, even for chronic offenders. While shorter jail imprisonment will offenders that will be imprisoned at shorter time were more likely to repeat their habitual crime commitment.
This finding will increase the evidence on the argument that deterrence is an effective tool in lessening the crime rate in a given place (WEINRATH & GARTRELL, 2001). ConclusionDeterrence, whether it is general and specific had been an efficient tool in decreasing the number of crimes being committed by many people. It produced a frightening effect on those people who wants to break the law or do crime again. The said argument was supported by different studies that were conducted. And each study focuses on the effect of recidivism on different crimes.
Though there are some other ways to consider when reducing recidivism, deterrence had shown it id efficient in controlling the rising crime rate in our society.