Deterrence as a Distributive Principle

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter examines deterrence as a distributive principle. It argues that a deterrence-based distribution potentially can forfeit any crime-control gains when that distribution undermines the system's moral credibility with the community it governs. That is, even if one assumes for the sake of argument that there would be some greater deterrent effect of a deterrence-based distribution of punishment over a desert-based distribution of punishment, one would still question whether this marginal benefit exceeds the losses that the use of a deterrence-based system would incur.


deterrence, punishment, criminal liability, deterrent effect, criminal law

Publication Title

Distributive Principles of Criminal Law: Who Should be Punished How Much