This theory says to impose strict and severe punishments depending upon the nature of offences.
Capital punishments, forfeiture of the property of the wrong-doer, imprisonment, etc., are the punishments suggested by this theory. When one criminal is punished seriously and severely, then the remaining people of the society will fear to commit such type of offence.
There are allegations the party leaders, such as Raja Sekhara Reddy, Chandra Babu Naidu, Sheela Kaur, Sukhram, Sateesh Sharma, Jayalalitha, Lalu Prasad Yadav, etc., earned crores of rupees of the public misutilising their power.
The newspapers, TVs, etc., have been broadcasting such news every day. The Supreme Court and High Courts have been inquiring them. The Supreme Court quashed all the permissions of dealerships of petrol bunks granted by Sateesh Sharma. The Supreme Court imposed fine of Rs. 50,00,000/- on Sheela Kaur, and also on Sukhram, ex-Central Ministers.
The Supreme Court and the High Court’s seriously criticized all the political leaders in power and their corruption, and have been inquiring the cases against them under suo-motto or public litigation. This attitude of the Courts deters the remaining political leaders in power.
Not only the Supreme Court and the High Courts, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) also have been pointing out the corruption of the ruling parties, from time to time. In October, 2007, the CAG pointed out several corruptions of the Dr. YSR’s Government and his projects.
Bentham explained the Utilitarian Theory. This theory says that “the greatest pleasure to the greater number of people”. – According to this theory, the people will calculate their every act with their profit. No person can do any act which is not profitable to him. In the same manner, if the punishments are stricter and serious, the general people will not commit such offences which are not beneficial for them. This is the purpose of the Deterrent Theory.
The Deterrent Theory suggests that the punishments should be implemented openly, not within four walls. A murdered B. The Court passed death sentence on A.
The death sentence on A must be implemented before the public in noon, not within the four walls of the prison at dawn. This type of punishment will definitely create tension and fear in the majority of the people. In turn they will not commit any such serious offences.
X raped Z. X must be punished before the public, and such punishment must be very severe, viz. cutting his penis, stoning etc. The people must hate the criminal. They must scold in abusive language. This causes fear in the remaining people tending to criminal behaviour. The criminal once punished severely shall not become recidivist.
The Deterrent Theory explains the general tendency of the people. It cannot restrain the recidivism perfectly. Several crimes occur suddenly on psychological frictions. Certain people cannot control their angry, ill-feelings. They explore suddenly.
There are several incidents occurred in our India, viz. killing the bus conductor for not returning change, beating the pan shop keeper for not giving credit, murdering a person just for ten rupees in a heat exchange of words, etc. The deterrent system does not create any fear in the minds of such people.
At that time, the wrong-doer does not remember the punishment which would be imposed upon him and its consequences. Only revenge is remembered. By the deterrent system such crimes cannot be prevented.
Further, this system could not prevent recidivism. A habitual offender is habituated in doing the offences. He does not fear about the punishments which shall be imposed on him.