Oksana Ilchenkov



Title of the article



Helmut Kury

University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

Oksana Ilchenko

Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok, Russian Federation










Since old times it is the rule to prevent undesirable, especially criminal behaviour by punishment. In medieval times most brutal sanctions are used - and as was the obvious result also in that times, with no or small effect. At the same time, the attitude to the punishment has never been straightforward. Beccaria wrote that we should "prevent crimes than to punish them"; it means that criminal prevention must be concentrate in "rewarding virtue." The scientist also believed that "in countries and over time with the most severe punishment most brutal crimes had been done." The effect of criminal sanctions is small, if ever given. This is shown on the background of empirical research from the USA, Finland, Germany, Switzerland and Portugal and on the basis of different groups of criminal behaviour. All international empirical results show a missing or in best cases small crime preventive effect of sanctions. The reasons are discussed. Alternatives to harsh sanctions mostly are cheaper than and as successful as sharp punishments. Nevertheless crime politicians are asking for sharper punishments, here populist ideologies might play an important role.


Violent crime; Punishment; Brutal sanctions; Decriminalization; Rehabilitation   

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