Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 28 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

According to deterrence theory in criminology, we are affected by both the costs and rewards that are consequent to our behavior. In other words, we tend to behave based on the expectation that we will receive some type of reward for doing it while hoping to avoid some type of punishment for not doing it or doing something else. We also provide disincentives, such as the criminal justice system, in order to discourage crime. The criminal justice system can reduce crime by apprehending and punishing offenders based on two mechanisms: specific deterrence and general deterrence. Deterrence theory posits that the actual practices of the criminal justice system, or what is known as the objective properties of punishment, affect would-be offenders' decisions by way of the perceptual properties of punishment. The idea behind perceptual deterrence theory is that the perceived certainty, severity, and celerity of punishment are inversely related to the decisions by would-be offenders to commit crime.

Keywords: deterrence theory, crime, criminology, criminal justice system, punishment, perceptual deterrence theory, general deterrence, specific deterrence, objective properties, perceptual properties

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.