Deterrence and Incapacitation Models of Criminal Punishment: Can the Twain Meet?
AbstractThe standard economic model of crime focuses on the goal of deterrence, but actual punishment schemes, most notably recent three-strikes laws, seem to rely more on imprisonment than is prescribed by that model. One explanation is that prison also serves an incapacitation function. The current paper seeks to develop an economic model of law enforcement that combines the deterrence and incapacitation motives for criminal punishment. The resulting hybrid model retains the rationality assumption that is the basis of the pure deterrence model, but assumes that offenders face repeated criminal opportunities over their lifetimes. In this setting, deterrence and incapacitation emerge naturally as complementary motivations for imposing criminal punishment.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2009-25.
Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
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Deterrence; incapacitation; law enforcement; prison;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
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