Specific deterrence describes the effect of incarceration on the individual who is apprehended. Some studies of deterrence with adult populations show modest reductions in crime due to “swift and certain” approaches to arrest following crime or violations (Braga & Weisburd, 2012). However, these models have not been replicated for juveniles and more recent research finds that specific deterrence has mixed effects. Using longitudinal data set from the Pathways to Desistance Study, Loughran et al. (2012) found that youth with high rates of offenses viewed detention as less onerous and the rewards from crime more beneficial than youth with relatively low rates of offenses. They further identified heterogeneity in the way youth responded to the perceived threat of detention that made “expecting a uniform effect of deterrence in serious adolescent offenders . . . unrealistic” (Loughran et al., 2012, p. 19). In sum, if juvenile pretrial detention has any crime suppression effects it is unlikely that it would be due to deterrence mechanisms given the observed weak or negative associations between specific deterrence and general deterrence on general juvenile crime.
Posted on by Kelly Smith