Crime is an undeniable part of our societies as it has been existent since the beginning of humanity. Social, mental and physical consequences of crimes and their motives have been being analysed under the name of criminology since the end of last century. However, most of the motives are rather personal than being general. That’s why there is not an exact way to deter crime.
Starting with the Code of Hammurabi, making laws that state prohibited actions and their punishments is the most common way of regulating the tentation in societies. Throughout the history, there have been different punishment policies. For instance; the Code of Hammurabi supported the idea of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth but nowadays giving prison sentences is preferred. Diversity of penalization methods makes people wonder which is the best way of eloigning crime and whether harsher or lighter punishments are more effective.
For most people, it is more appealing to think that harsher punishments can reduce crime. According to the Theory of Deterrence which was propounded by Italian criminologist Cesare Beccaria, there are three elements to ensure deterrence: Certainty, celerity, and severity. Certainty refers to the precision of due process, celerity is the order of justice and severity represents strict punishment. Beccario believed that if these 3 elements are implemented properly, crime would reduce. It seems applicable for some cases as most of the criminals think that they will not get penalized because of the delayed justice system. Furthermore; even getting caught does not matter to some criminals, they have all their perceptions on the wrong intentions.
However, crimes that occur habitually or because of psychological problems ought to be considered too. These crimes cannot be prevented by any type of penalty as the criminals do not have a proper sense of right and wrong. For instance; a kleptomaniac will not stop stealing whether the punishment is dead or just a year in prison. The only way to reduce this type of crime is to ensure free and comprehensive psychological treatment for every individual.
Although it is obvious that punishment is necessary, we have a tendency to honour forgiveness. Moreover, lighter and more humane punishments may work too. A criminal is thought to remain as a wrongful person who can never turn back into society. However, we must not forget that nobody is born good or bad. It is the atmosphere of our society, which weakens their morals or makes them go astray. Therefore, we should focus on improving our social and economic conditions rather than creating punishment methods.
In my point of view, enough has been spoken about punishment when we should have been making efforts to improve the life standards which leads to crime. We must not forget that the solution does not have to be physical. Why wait for a crime to be done when we can try to change the generation of criminal mindset? To conclude, harsher punishment might deter people from crime but it cannot bring peace to our world as it is neither sustainable nor humane.