Treatment & Punishment of Crime:


One behavioural therapy used to treat criminals is imprisonment which aims to punish criminals. The main aims of behavioural therapies are: Retribution: paying for the offence by punishment and Deterrence: making potential offenders think twice because of the consequences.

Behavioural theories suggest that punishing offenders by putting them in prisons should reduce criminal behaviour. Bottomley and Pease (1986) stated that reconviction rate is around 60%, although this suggests that imprisonment isn’t effective as it’s not an effective deterrent for current offenders but it may deter potential offenders. Farrington and Nutall (1980) found that re-offending levels were higher in overcrowded prisons than in pleasant ones (it might be this way because in overcrowded prisons the money is stretched more and they cannot afford for every prisoner to have rehabilitation services). Argued that imprisonment must be immediate as there is typically a long time between the offence, trial and them imprisonment – this association with crime and broken is broken if the timings are too far apart.

The aim of Zero Tolerance is to avoid the downward spiral of criminal behaviour, by tackling minor crimes to prevent the escalation of crime rates. According to Kelling and Wilson (1982) a neighbourhood could degenerate if just one window was broken as it creates a social norm. In the early 1990’s, in New York, designated hot spot areas were created where criminality was high and this focused police attention


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