Deterrable Offenders

Topics: Crime, Scientific method, Group theory Pages: 2 (590 words) Published: October 17, 2010
The article, “Identifying deterrable offenders: implications for research on deterrence,” proposed a unique framework from which to understand how deterrence operates. The article argued that most research has not adequately explored the proposition that deterrence operates for only a subgroup of the general population. In light of this, Pogarsky focused on more efficiently testing the effects of the certainty and severity of sanctions by dividing a sample into three subgroups and then analyzing their responses to a hypothetical situation. By doing this, Pogarsky aimed to specifically test a subgroup of the population, and how sanctions affect that group. The findings of his research contrasted many previous theories, however, numerous methodological problems can be found in his research. Consequently, these problems threaten the validity of his conclusion about the certainty and severity of sanctions on the deterrable subgroup of the general population. The framework that Pogarsky established is that there are three distinct offending profiles, which are determined on the “basis of the way sanction threats enter into their decisions to offend,” (Pogarsky, 2002). Acute conformists are those that are extralegally constrained, and will not commit crime no matter what the legal sanctions are. In contrast, the incorrigible group includes individuals that are going to commit crime no matter what the sanctions. The third group, and arguably the only group relevant to deterrence research, includes the individuals that are neither strongly committed to crime, nor to conforming. Operationally, one problem is that Pogarsky did not adequately describe the characteristics or personal traits of each group. He mentioned personal traits such as gender, emotions, self control, impulsivity and moral inhibition, but did not expand upon how or why these traits affect deterability. It would have been beneficial to further discuss these traits and their relation to...
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