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2004

Criminal Law

Deterrence

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

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Does Criminal Law Deter? A Behavioral Science Investigation, Paul H. Robinson Jun 2004

Does Criminal Law Deter? A Behavioral Science Investigation, Paul H. Robinson

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Having a criminal justice system that imposes sanctions no doubt does deter criminal conduct. But available social science research suggests that manipulating criminal law rules within that system to achieve heightened deterrence effects generally will be ineffective. Potential offenders often do not know of the legal rules. Even if they do, they frequently are unable to bring this knowledge to bear in guiding their conduct, due to a variety of situational, social, or chemical factors. Even if they can, a rational analysis commonly puts the perceived benefits of crime greater than its perceived costs, due to a variety of criminal …