Does deterrence work?
We begin with the most basic question: Does deterrence work? Strong statements are often made in the negative. “Deterrence is a principal with much immediate appeal,” wrote England’s Home Oﬃce in 1990,
but much crime is committed on impulse […] and it is committed by oﬀenders who live from moment to moment […] It is unrealistic to construct sentencing arrangements on the assumption that most oﬀenders will weigh up the possibilities in advance and base their conduct on rational calculation.1