Recent studies indicate that punishment is driven by just deserts motives rather than deterrence motives. In the just deserts perspective, punishment is based on the seriousness of the crime, and rehabilitative alternatives to punishment are only expected to be considered when the seriousness is low. By drawing on recent advances in evolutionary psychology, a range of contrasting expectations are developed. Especially, it is expected that the choice between punishment and rehabilitation is determined by assessing the future social value of the criminal. The expectations are supported by data from a large-scale survey, and it is shown that the seriousness of the crime only have direct effects on less psychologically salient dimensions of our reactions. Finally, it is discussed why previous studies have reached different conclusions.
Ikke Angivet, 2007
Main Research Area:
ISPP 30th Annual Scientific Meeting, 2007
Department of Political Science, University of Aarhus