Sentencing and Reduction in Crime

However, in the U.S. the situation is different as the country does not fall into any category listed above. The crime rate can be reduced by two methods: first, find reasons for criminal behavior and then take actions to lower the crime rate according to these reasons or second, strict the punishment so individuals that considered committing crime would think twice before taking some prohibited by the law actions. The effectiveness of tougher sentencing may cause a problem by the distortion created by incarceration and unclear results both at the individual and Crime aggregate level.

According to the public, the present sentences are not substantial enough. They are out of proportion to the seriousness of crime committed. Referring to the statistics, there is only a 2% chance that a person who committed a robbery will be sentence to prison. These numbers make people really think if we need stricter sentencing. Some may argue that it is only a robbery, however, if a person can let himself or herself commit a robbery what can stop him/her of committing the murder. Stricter sentencing, together with minimum sentences for particular felonies and automatic incarceration for persistent lawbreakers, instead of bigger police expenditure, has become the latest reaction to the apparent increase in crime.

It is a well-known hypothesis that criminal actions are directly related with possible outcome of the unwanted situation (being caught). To be simple, if the criminal certainly knows that he/she will be responsible for offence and this responsibility will be of high strictness the chances of committing the offence will be much lower. Some countries, especially Asian, have a death penalty for a number of crimes. For example, if someone caught with drugs, no matter if using them, selling, or just having in the pocket he/she will be sentenced to death. Most likely that this way the authorities just scare the potential lawbreakers and not change the psychology, however, this method works positively on reducing the crime rate. As I mentioned before there are basically two sets of strategies to stimulate the potential lawbreaker: encouraging that consists of alternatives to crime that a government can offer to a potential offender or discouraging such as strong punishment. If we view criminals as the ones that want to maximize the efficacy at the lowest risk, we would expect them to compare actual utility from the illegal activity to the utility of the perfectly legal action. In case of applying some knowledge from economics we can easily draw the graph of supply and demand; at the point where two lines intersect would be the market equilibrium for criminal activity. To make it completely understandable, the higher the risk to be jailed the lower criminal activity would be. Consequently, incarceration would reduce crime by applying the preventive effect and declining the number of offenders and this effect basically will create the utility of alternative. The result of this idea is vitally dependent on the suppositions that a person makes and thus the effect will depend on person’s attitude towards risk, length of imprisonment, and other results that will the unfavorable situation for a criminal will lead to.

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