Publication Citation

3 (1) IUSTITIA 18 (1975)


In the past several years, there has been an extended dialogue in the literature concerning the question of the efficacy of sanctions as a means of deterring criminal behavior. There is some convincing evidence that threatened sanctions can and do deter some forms of behavior, such as parking violations and income tax evasion. Do these findings extend to other forms of behavior which our society has defined as criminal? This issue is considered by Gibbs in an article which appeared to find a clear link between the certainty and severity of sanctions and the murder rate. Gibbs' article stimulated additional research and analysis, some of which was intended to refute his findings. Most of these additional analyses ended up confirming his findings, at least so far as the crime of homicide was concerned.