Incapacitation is a philosophy of incarceration that argues that some offenders might have to be incarcerated not for what they have done but to prevent future harm to the community. The philosophy of incapacitation depends on the ability of the community to identify those that might re-offend. Some argue that incapacitation is unfair punishment to people for what they might do, rather than for what they have done. Incapacitation is considered to be a subset of specific deterrence. Incapacitation aims to prevent future crimes not by rehabilitative ideal but rather by taking away the ability to commit such acts. General deterrence theory focuses on reducing the probability of deviance in the general population. The tension between selective incapacitation and desert cannot be ignored because the use of selective-incapacitation strategies entails sacrifices of equity for offenders. Selective incapacitation is provided for under the dangerous offender legislation.
The Ethics of Selective Incapacitation: Observations on the Contemporary Debate - Andrew von Hirsch. "Selective Incapacitation" strategies raise the issue of the fairness of prediction-based sentencing. Some recent advocates of such strategies have argued that predictive sentencing is just, because the criteria for prediction coincide or overlap with the criteria for deserved punishment.
Selective Incapacitation: Sentencing According to Risk - John Blackmore, Jane Welsh. In October 1982, the Rand Corporation published Selective Incapacitation, a sentencing proposal based on seven years of research by a team of Rand researchers under the direction of Peter Greenwood. If implemented in its purest form, he says, selective incapacitation could result both in a net reduction of crime in the community and in the number of offenders who would need to be incarcerated. In this article we outline the history, criticism and impact of selective incapacitation.
Deterrence and Incapacitation: An Interrupted Time-Series Analysis of California's Three Strikes law - Ramirez J.R.; Crano W.D. Abstract: Using uniform crime statistics, this research investigates the impact of California's three-strikes law on instrumental, violent, minor, and drug-related crimes over the first 5 years of the law'simplementation. Three-strikes laws are statutes in the United States which mandate state courts to impose harsher sentences on habitual offenders who are convicted of three or more serious criminal offenses.
The Determinants of Punishment: Deterrence, Incapacitation and Vengeance - Does the economic model of optimal punishment explain the variation in the sentencing of murderers? As the model predicts, we find that murderers with a high expected probability of criminal recidivism receive longer sentences. Sentences are longest in murder types where apprehension rates are low, and where deterrence elasticities appear to be high.
Selective Incapacitation? - STEPHEN D. GOTTFREDSON, DON M. GOTTFREDSON. Recent sentencing proposals for the selective incapacitation of criminal offenders have generated a great deal of enthusiasm and controversy. The controversy stems from two sources: concerns of science and of ethics. This article describes the selective incapacitation proposal and the scientific and ethical controversies it has generated.
Are Idle Hands the Devil's Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration, and Juvenile Crime - Jacob B.A, Lefgren L. Abstract: This paper examines the short-term effect of school on juvenile crime. To do so, we bring together daily measures of criminal activity and detailed school calendar information from 29 jurisdictions across the country, and utilize the plausibly exogenous variation generated by teacher in-service days. Our findings suggest that both incapacitation and concentration influence juvenile crime.
The Philadelphia Birth Cohort and Selective Incapacitation - THOMAS J. BERNARD, R. RICHARD RITTI. The birth cohort data from Wolfgang and colleagues' 1972 study is analyzed to determine marginal benefits (police reports and serious adjudications that would not have occurred) and marginal costs (the juvenile incarceration rate that would have resulted, as compared to present rates) if nine hypothetical incapacitation policies had been in effect at the time.
Assessing the Impact of Exposure Time and Incapacitation on Longitudinal
Trajectories of Criminal Offending
Alex R. Piquero, Alfred Blumstein, Robert Brame, Rudy Haapanen, Edward P. Mulvey, Daniel S. Nagin. The authors examine the potential effect of accounting for exposure time by examining the arrests of 272 serious offenders who were paroled at age 18 and followed through age 33.
Sex Offender Laws: Can Treatment, Punishment, Incapacitation, and Public Safety be Reconciled? - Mary Ann Farkas, Amy Stichman - Criminal Justice Review. Sex offenders are viewed a unique type of criminal offender, particularly as more "objectionable,' less treatable, more dangerous, and more likely to recidivate. We conclude that, even though treatment is an implicit rationale in the laws' provisions, punishment, incapacitation, and public safety are the ostensive purposes of these special laws and policies directed toward sex offenders.
The Goals of Corrections: Perspectives from the Line - Misty Kifer, Craig Hemmens, Mary K. Stohr, Criminal Justice Review.
In an effort to assess the level of professional support for these goals, a survey was administered to staff in three prisons, two jails, and a jail academy in a rural mountain state. The results indicate that jail and prison staff are more likely than not to perceive the primary goal of corrections as incapacitation.
Prison Overcrowding: The Law's Dilemma - EDWARD M. KENNEDY. The author focuses on the importance of criminal sentencing policy to prison overcrowding and advocates comprehensive sentencing reform that emphasizes selective incapacitation of dangerous offenders as a sensible approach to conserving scarce prison resources. The use of uniform sentences and selective incapacitation provided for in the new law offers a constructive approach to the intractable problem of prison overcrowding.
Incapacitation and Just Deserts as Motives for Punishment - PAUL H. ROBINSON, KEVIN CARLSMITH, JOHN M. DARLEY. Abstract: What motivates a person's desire to punish actors who commit intentional, counternormative harms? Two possible answers are a just deserts motive or a desire to incarcerate (incapacitation) the actor so that he cannot be a further danger to society.
Dangerousness and Incapacitation: A Predictive Evaluation of Sentencing Policy Reform in California - Kathleen Auerhahn.
This predictive evaluation of sentencing policy reform in California concludes that the State's "Three Strikes" law will not be effective in incapacitating dangerous offenders.
Abstract: Sentencing policies that claim to enhance public safety by selectively
incapacitating dangerous offenders must make clear the characteristics of a dangerous
offender and must ensure that these dangerous offenders are actually the ones targeted for
selective incapacitation. Three alternate scenarios are presented to explore various ways
to achieve greater average dangerousness in the incarcerated population, thus increasing
the incapacitation of dangerous offenders.
Effects of Judges' Sentencing Decisions on Criminal Careers - Don M. Gottfredson. This study determined the degree to which judicial sentencing decisions affected subsequent criminal careers for 962 felony offenders in Essex County, N.J., who were variously to confinement and noncustodial programs. Abstract: Available sentencing choices had little effect, other than that of incapacitation, on recidivism as measured by new arrests and charges. The findings offer little support, aside from incapacitation, for increased use of confinement, emphasis on longer terms, or more acceptance of specific deterrence as a crime-control strategy.
Selective incapacitation under dangerous offender legislation. Dangerous offender provisions have been enacted in many nations around the world. These laws exist because some offenders are considered to be so dangerous that punishment proportionate to their offences would be inadequate to prevent future criminal acts. It is incapacitation, not punishment, that is the primary goal of dangerous offender laws.