Definition of Individual Deterrence
Criminal laws are often established in order to prevent individuals from taking part in detrimental behavior that has been deemed illegal. Thus, one of the primary objectives of sentencing individuals who violate criminal laws is deterrence. Laws are developed in order to ensure that the safety and the well-being of citizens is protected and upheld. Individuals who disregard these laws endanger the well-being of themselves and others, and are therefore tried in criminal courts.
Deterrence may manifest in multiple ways. Individual deterrence occurs when criminals are punished in criminal courts for their behavior. Deterrence results when an individual experiences a punishment that discourages them from taking part in the same behavior again. The penalties that they have experienced are aimed at convincing the offender that taking part in illegal actions is not worth the consequences that they will face. Offenders are tried in criminal courts in order to determine what punishment will act as an effective deterrent.
Once perpetrators have been convicted of a crime in criminal courts, the judge will deliberate on an appropriate sentence. Sentencing the criminal to an adequate punishment is the most important factor of deterrence. If the punishment is not proportional with the crime that was committed, then the sentence may not effectively deter the criminal from partaking in illegal activities in the future.
Deterring an individual from disregarding criminal laws may help to save lives. One common example of deterrence is the punishment for driving under the influence. An individual who is charged with driving under the influence may experience several penalties for their behavior, including fines, jail time, and the revocation of their license. The fines are often very expensive and may include fees ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. They may be required to spend up to a few months in prison.
Also, individuals who are caught driving while intoxicated will have their license suspended for numerous months. This will affect the offender’s day-to-day routine. They may experience trouble getting to and from work, or running basic errands.
This can also be applied to more serious offenses that are tried in criminal courts, such as robbery, assault, and sexual offenses. These crimes are extremely severe and may result in extensive physical harm for victims who are involved in these cases. Therefore, it is essential to determine sentences that are severe enough to deter criminals from taking part in this behavior again once they are released from prison. However, the punishment cannot be so severe that it is considered to be unusually cruel or disproportionate.