Deterrence, Part 4 to blupete's Essay
"On The Theory of Punishment"
People are driven to do, or not to do things, by the twin engines of hope and fear. Apprehension or dread of something that will or may happen in the future: it is this simple reaction to the promise of punishment which harnesses most and keeps them straight on the road of law and order.11 We aim to deter future wrongdoers by punishing past offenders. Where deterrence is the only purpose, then, that punishment is to be preferred which combines the greatest deterrence with the least pain. For those who possess property then the taking away of their property by the levy of a fine maybe a sufficient deterrence. But fines hardly work against those who have nothing to lose. What is left is either imprisonment or the threat of corporal punishment. However, as Mencken was to observe, the choice of imprisonment or fine, is a choice of "allowing one prisoner to pay a bribe for his liberty, and taking away the liberty of another prisoner because he hasn't got the bribe."12
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