The speed or celerity of punishment also factors into deterrence. If punishment is swift and prompt, it is possible that the deterrent effect will be stronger. After being issued a fare evasion citation, defendants are issued a court date which is usually about a month after the citation is issued according to Multnomah Co. Circuit Court data. Differences in the timelines of expected court appearances could also influence a defendant’s ability or willingness to appear in court. It appears the speed at which fare evaders are actually punished is slow given the time delays to court dates and the unlikelihood that the court will aggressively seek to track down defendants who miss court and do not pay fines. In contrast to general deterrence, specific deterrence addresses the failed preventive effect of general deterrence by threat of punishment. Specific deterrence refers to the deterrent effect after reoffending and actually experiencing certain, severe, and swift punishment (Nagin, 2013). In theory, defendants who have been caught and cited 6 for fare evasion would be specifically deterred after experiencing the punishment of being fined and being ordered to appear in court. Nagin’s 2013 review of deterrence has shown that there is little empirical evidence that specific deterrence has an effect. Instead, specific deterrence has shown an unaffected or increased reoffending effect. Repeat fare evaders have shown that specific deterrence has little or no effect on preventing future crimes as those who chose to offend and reoffend likely disregard punishment or repercussions.
Posted on by Kelly Smith