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Deterrence, Incapacitation, and Repeat Offenders

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  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

This paper develops an economic model of criminal enforcement that combines the goals of deterrence and incapacitation. Potential offenders commit an initial criminal act if the present value of net private gains is positive. A fraction of these offenders become habitual and commit further crimes immediately upon release from their initial prison term (if any). The optimal punishment scheme in this setting generally involves a finite prison term for first-time offenders (based on the goal of deterrence), and an infinite (life) sentence for repeat offenders (based on the goal of incapacitation).

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Miceli, 2008. "Deterrence, Incapacitation, and Repeat Offenders," Working papers 2008-44, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2008-44
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    File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2008-44.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Miceli Thomas J. & Bucci Catherine, 2005. "A Simple Theory of Increasing Penalties for Repeat Offenders," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 71-80, April.
    2. Kessler, Daniel P & Levitt, Steven D, 1999. "Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish between Deterrence and Incapacitation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 343-363, April.
    3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Emons, Winand, 2003. "A note on the optimal punishment for repeat offenders," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 253-259, September.
    5. Mitchell Polinsky, A. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1991. "A model of optimal fines for repeat offenders," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 291-306, December.
    6. Chu, C. Y. Cyrus & Hu, Sheng-cheng & Huang, Ting-yuan, 2000. "Punishing repeat offenders more severely," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 127-140, March.
    7. Glenn C. Loury, 1979. "Market Structure and Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(3), pages 395-410.
    8. Davis, Michael L, 1988. "Time and Punishment: An Intertemporal Model of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 383-390, April.
    9. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1981. "On the Usefulness of Controlling Individuals: An Economic Analysis of Rehabilitation, Incapacitation, and Deterrence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 307-322, June.
    10. Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 968-979, December.
    11. Shavell, Steven, 1987. "A Model of Optimal Incapacitation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 107-110, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Deterrence; incapacitation; prison; repeat offenders;

    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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