The Role of Detention in Recidivism and Delinquent Behavior
by Alexandra Roy


In the past decade terms such as “tough on crime”, “juvenile boot camps”, and other phrases indicating a shift towards a more punitive juvenile justice system have entered the vocabulary of the general public.  The first part of this paper will explore a number of factors that can impact delinquent behavior.  The focus will then shift to look at detention centers with specific focus on the role they serve in juvenile rehabilitation and the manner in which they function.  Throughout the paper, case studies of incarcerated individuals will be used in order to provide specific examples of the phenomenon being discussed. The final part of this paper will employ criminological theory to illustrate the lack of positive impact, and in some cases negative impact, that incarceration in a detention center can have on juvenile recidivism rates.  The results demonstrate that detention centers do not prevent recidivism, rather, it is intervening, external factors, many of which are specific to the individual, that determine whether or not the individual re-offends.

It has been suggested that a delinquent tendency exists in certain individuals within society (Angenent and de Man 1996:97).  This is based on the idea that a person could possess criminal personality traits, which would predispose them to a life of delinquency.  Based on this belief, statements such as ‘that’s just the way he is’ or ‘that is so typical of him’ are sometimes made about those who have committed delinquent acts (Angenent and de Man 1996:47).  These not only confine the individual to a status of “deviant” by “expect[ing] them to behave a certain way in a particular situation”, they also suggest that the behavior is a characterization that fails to take into account other factors that contribute to delinquency (Angenent and de Man 1996:47).  Individuals who fit into these stereotypes are often placed in detention centers, which have become increasingly punitive.  Given the number of external factors, which can impact an individual both in and out of detention, and the change in detention centers from a rehabilitative setting to a punitive one, does incarceration lead to a reduction in recidivism rates?  This paper will seek to demonstrate that detention centers have little impact on reducing recidivism rates due to a variety of unexamined factors, which are often specific to the individual.  It will do so through the examination of the experiences of two individuals who were incarcerated in detention centers.

Factors Related to Delinquency

One factor that can have a large impact on a tendency towards delinquent behavior is the family because it is considered to be the first form of socialization that a child experiences, “where they learn to interact with others, are taught what is right and what is wrong, internalize conventional norms and customs, and are instructed how to behave accordingly” (Angenent and de Man 1996:87).  It is the family that prepares the child for life outside of the home.  The atmosphere within the home is perhaps most important. Juvenile delinquency is often prevalent in families known as “disharmonious families,” which are characterized by a limited cooperation between family members, strained and conflict oriented relationships, and a lack of supervision. The conflict within the home—either between the parents or between the child and the parents—leads to a reinforcement of negative ways of handling conflict by “fighting, blaming each other and avoiding responsibilities” (Angenent and de Man 1996:95)[1].  Children from these types of homes have a tendency to alienate themselves from those around them.  This alienation can result in the child’s emotional distancing from the family, and as a result “their affective ties with others weaken” (Angenent and de Man 1996:96).  This lack of connection with both the family and with those in other arenas of a child’s life can lead to an increase in delinquent behavior as a result of not having what are considered normal behavioral checks within their life. 

Another type of behavior known as ‘escape behavior’ is directly linked to this.  It is when the child distances themselves physically from their family by engaging in activities outside the home.  In relation to delinquency, this can lead to the child becoming streetwise and involved with gangs in an attempt to replace the relationships and intimacy that is missing within a disharmonious family.  As the child becomes more involved with groups that follow deviant norms, they are less likely to feel the need to maintain norms imposed upon them by their family and instead partake in criminal behavior (Angenent and de Man 1996:97).

Parental supervision—or the lack thereof—is often directly related to delinquent behavior, which is less likely to occur in a household where the parent is aware not only of where their child is, but what they are doing.  In addition to being aware of the child’s whereabouts and behavior, parents’ responses to misbehavior can also be influential. If a parent reacts in a disapproving manner and imposes consequences for such actions, this teaches the child that certain behaviors are unacceptable and will not be tolerated (Angenent and de Man 1996:108). 

Among children who engage in delinquent behavior, the parents are often either too late in intervening or do not intervene at all.  Reponses such as rationalizing behavior, remaining ignorant about the circumstances, or failing to recognize the seriousness of the action implicitly condone them, and the child learns that such behavior is acceptable (Angenent and de Man 1996). Within disharmonious families, supervision is often lacking as a result of either a child’s alienation from the family or engaging in escape behaviors.  If parents fail to act in a way that demonstrates that delinquent behavior is inappropriate, when the child engages in such behavior they only serve to reinforce the message that it is acceptable.  

Parents can also influence whether the child engages in delinquent behavior because within the family, they serve as role models.  The child learns what is acceptable both within the household and within society based on the actions of their parents.  As a result, they are often prone to imitation of their behavior.  Therefore, if a parent engages in criminal behavior, the child is more likely to as well because by not setting a positive example for their children, parents are inadvertently teaching them that delinquent behavior is okay.  Essentially, a tendency towards criminality becomes a tradition, which is passed on from parents to children.

Angenent and de Man call this the “intergenerational effect” (1996:110).  Oftentimes, this cycle is difficult to break because parents raises their children based on their own experiences. Therefore, it is their experiences in childhood and their interaction with their parents that influence the way they relate with and raise their children.  This imitation of their upbringing is often subconscious and thus more difficult to change.  As a result, the cycle of criminality becomes ingrained within the family (Angenent and de Man 1996). 

Friends and peer groups can impact delinquency because they are an important part of the socialization process.  In instances where there are not solid relationships within the family, peer groups are more important because they provide a child with “companionship and sociability, cohesiveness and solidarity, understanding and support, advice and comfort, protection and security, [and] status and prestige” (Angenent and de Man 1996:144).  Feeling as if they belong is an important part of the developmental process and the desire to feel this way can influence the way the child acts.  In order to avoid rejection, the child may imitate others within the group and act in ways they would not normally.  This can lead the child to “forget” rules imposed upon them both by their family or society and to act in a deviant manner. “Social-cause theory or socialization theory” can be used to explain delinquent behavior by the child based on association with delinquent friends (Angenent and de Man 1996:153).  Due to a “pressure to conform (coalition theory)” the child can become involved in criminality in order to maintain his friends (Angenent and de Man 1996:153). 

All of the previously examined factors that can lead to delinquency can be found within socially troubled neighborhoods.  Environments such as these can serve as breeding grounds for delinquent youths because of their interaction with each other, which is often unregulated by parents.  Children are more likely to have friends that are prone to delinquency and engage in similar behavior, because they live in close proximity to each other, there is limited parental authority, and they have the universal desire for companionship and belonging. 

Studies have shown that juvenile delinquency is “more or less concentrated in certain neighbourhoods,” which are often urban areas in which problems such as drugs and gangs exist (Angenent and de Man 1996:179).  These neighborhoods, known as “socially troubled neighbourhoods” are more prone to high levels of juvenile delinquency than other areas (Angenent and de Man 1996:179). In order to understand the reasons behind this, it is necessary to first look at the social problems that exist there.  Socially troubled neighborhoods are characterized by  “[a] low percentage of privately owned homes…inferior housing conditions, and…poor maintenance of the dwellings” (Angenent and de Man 1996:179).  People who live in such neighborhoods are often of a low socioeconomic status and rely on welfare.  These individuals may not possess the education necessary to get a job which would allow them to work less and earn a higher salary and therefore they are confined to low paying jobs.   As a result of this, they have few options for housing and choose such neighborhoods based on their limited social mobility.  In addition, they are forced to work long hours, sometimes at multiple jobs, in order to provide the basic necessities for their families.  This is especially common in the case of single mothers. 

It is within socially troubled neighborhoods that everything comes together to provide the optimal environment for children to engage in delinquent behavior.  It is within these neighborhoods that many disharmonious and single parent families are found. They are trapped by poverty and often caught in a life they are unable to get out of.  In trying to provide for their families, the parents are unable to provide the child with adequate supervision.  As a result of this, the child interacts with other children and makes friends, which can lead to peer pressure and cause them to engage in behavior that they would not otherwise partake in. Socially troubled neighborhoods provide more opportunities to engage in delinquent behavior such as vandalism and arson than other areas (Angenent and de Man 1996).  Therefore, this demonstrates that a combination of factors that can increase the child’s tendency towards delinquency all converge within socially troubled neighborhoods

Detention Centers

According to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, detention centers are designed to accomplish four major goals: “secure custody which minimizes the damaging effects of confinement, a constructive and satisfying program of activities indoors and out, individual guidance through social casework and social group work, [and] observation and study of the child” (Standards and Guides for the Detention of Children and Youth 1961:36).  Time spent in centers is not meant to be “merely a ‘waiting period’ [but rather] begin the process of rehabilitation and lay the groundwork for later treatment” (Standards and Guides for the Detention of Children and Youth 1961:36).  Detention centers are designed to be comfortable environments where the child is accepted by staff who believe it is possible for him to change and to provide children with things they would have on the “outside”. 

The public perception of juvenile offenders and their subsequent punishment differs greatly from the experiences of incarcerated juveniles.  The perception is juvenile court has been “too ‘soft’ on violent delinquents and not punished them enough” (Reppucci 1999:314).  As a result of an increase in violent juvenile crimes during the 1990s, there has been a marked shift in juvenile justice from an emphasis on a “treatment model encouraging placement of offenders in nonsecure, community-based programs,” which was used in the 1970s and 1980s, to a policy of “strict sanctions and incarceration” which began in the 1990s (Jensen and Howard 1998:324-325).  This reform-based punishment has resulted in an increasing number of youth offenders that are incarcerated (Reppucci 1999:314). 

This has led to a change in the function that detention centers fulfill.  The transition discussed by Jensen and Howard suggests that rather than serving as rehabilitation centers or as a last resort after previous measures have failed, detention has taken on a more punitive role, meant to “teach the child a lesson”, an approach more often used with adult offenders (Jensen and Howard 1998).

Within Connecticut, public perception and in turn public policy, is more lenient than found in other states.  Connecticut is a relatively liberal state with a history of placing Democrats in public office.[2] Liberal states tend to have less punitive programs surrounding the juvenile justice system.  This is due to a public desire to pursue a less strict program and thus policy makers act in a manner reflective of this.  For example, Connecticut uses juvenile review boards or JRBs, which are “diversionary[3] and prevention programs designed to help local police departments deal with juvenile offenders” (Office of Legislative Research 1994).  They focus on finding potential alternatives outside of the juvenile justice system.   

Yet even with JRBs in place, the detention centers are still regularly used.  Out of the 210 beds available in detention in all of Connecticut, the lowest number filled was seventy-five children in February 2009 and the highest number was just under one hundred children in March 2009 (“Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance”).

In the case of Broad Street and Washington Street, two detention centers located in Hartford, Connecticut, children attend school, take part in recreational activities, participate in group discussions, and are observed by a mental health specialist.  Upon intake, all children are given a physical and dental examination and are sometimes provided with services such as glasses or dental care if needed.  They also are given an initial mental health screening, and the majority of children are placed on medications.[4]

All of these services are meant to allow the child to continue with normal daily activities, in addition to providing them with resources important in the rehabilitation process.  In the Broad Street detention center a merit system is used which operates on a series of levels.  This system served to be both one of discipline and rewards.  Evaluation is done based on a twofold process.  Each level has a range of points associated with it.  Points are based upon completion of basic tasks such as making beds or cleaning up after meals.  Children are considered to be on certain levels based on the range of points that they fall in and what type of behavior they display. Good behavior and/or earning more points can result in moving up a level whereas bad behavior and/or losing points can result in moving down a level.

Within Broad Street, Level One was the most important because it was the highest level and came with privileges such as “Open Door” which would allow the child to move freely in and out of his room, being assigned a single room, and day trips to McDonalds, the movies, and to perform community service.  In addition, having Level One status guaranteed the child a better chance of being released from detention.  Children on Level Two and especially Level Three are rarely released from detention given that such status demonstrates to the court that they have not been acting appropriately in detention and are not ready to return to the community.  Washington Street operated on a similar system. [5]

If the offense is the child’s first and they are not already on probation, then they must fit one of five criteria for detention to be considered an option.[6] According to Connecticut law, these are if 1) the child has a history of running away or is considered to be at high risk for running; 2) the child is believed to pose a threat to the community, that is, believed likely to re-offend prior to the conclusion of their case; 3) the child is considered to pose a risk to the community or considered at risk within the home; 4) the child needs to be held on behalf of another jurisdiction; 5) the child has a previous history of failing to appear for court hearings (Connecticut General Statutes 2009:628).  In addition, a child on probation may be placed in detention if they violate the terms of their probation, resulting a ‘take into custody order’ being issued by the probation officer. Any of these reasons can justify a child being locked up although criteria one and two and violation of probation are the most common. 

Case Studies[7]

The first case study is María,[8] a fifteen-year-old Puerto Rican girl with a history of delinquency.  María had been placed in a residential facility[9] in 2008 after being released from detention.  Shortly thereafter, she ran away and was on the run for the next eight months.  This was considered to be a violation of her probation and a take into custody ordered was issued. [10]  When she was finally caught and taken into custody, she resisted arrest and fought with the police officer, leading to her being charged with breach of peace in the second degree.  Due to her history as a runaway, she had been classified by the Department of Children and Families as a ‘family with service needs’ case  (FWSN).  Her FWSN status combined with her prior record resulted in her being held in detention for over three months while the court attempted to find a home for her.  She was not released back into the community because of her history as a runaway which is criterion one.

Detention had the potential to serve her as a place for rehabilitation, but it failed due to several reasons, some of which were connected to her detention experience.  At the time of María’s first arrest in the spring of 2008, her mother was incarcerated and María had been living with her grandmother.  This fits the pattern of the “intergenerational effect” involving the transfer of criminality from parent to child (Angenent and de Man 1996:111).  María was not the only child residing with her grandmother; in fact her grandmother was in charge of five children, all of whom were family.  This resulted in a lack of supervision and thus María became streetwise at a young age in downtown Hartford, an area which fits the model of a socially troubled neighborhood. This also led to María not having a constant authority figure in her life, because her grandmother was unable to adequately enforce rules. Each of these aspects of María’s experience at home suggests that she grew up in a disharmonious family.  This not only predisposed her to delinquency, it also made life in detention difficult for María. 

Within detention, María did not respond positively to authority figures, and as a result, got into altercations with staff members, which often resulted in the use of physical restraint. Detention evaluations showed that she had trouble with group interactions, which made it difficult for these to be effective in the rehabilitation process. Life in detention was nightmarish.  This was largely due to the length of time she was incarcerated.  What should have been at most a month stay instead became four months.  In addition, it was a culture shock to María and she had trouble adjusting to life without her ethnic familiarities. This caused her to lose over ten pounds as a result of not liking and therefore not eating the food provided to her.  She became increasingly depressed, which was worse when coupled with preexisting diagnoses—conduct disorder and mood disorder not otherwise specified (NOS).[11]  She was also placed on suicide watch as a result of self-inflicted scratches found on both her face and arms. 

Despite her extreme difficulties in adjusting to detention, María initially did well in the merit system.  She was on Level One where she was given special privileges such as getting to stay up late and eat pizza with other girls on the same level.  Although this would seem as if it would have a positive impact, it did not.  Unbeknownst to the staff members, María was being bullied by the other girls in the unit.  Many altercations with other girls resulted from them insulting her or her family or, in some cases, physically assaulting her when the staff was not looking.  The ‘privilege’ of getting to stay up later and spend her time with others was in fact a punishment because these girls were bullying her.  Therefore staying up late unobserved gave the other girls free reign to harass and abuse María. 

All of these factors prohibited detention from being a step towards rehabilitation. Instead, as María spent more time in detention, it became more of a punitive environment and her behavior became increasingly worse; in three months she fell from the Level One to Level 3.  Any positive impact that group sessions, education, recreation, or mental health services could have had on changing her behavior became moot as her stay in detention grew longer.

The second case study, Pablo[12], is quite different from María.  He was unusual in that he was placed in detention for the first time at age fourteen.[13]  Pablo had in early 2009 been convicted on a charge of reckless burning in which a nolle prosequi had been entered by the prosecution as he did not have a prior history.  This meant that the case was dropped but had the potential to be reopened should he be convicted of another crime.  Pablo was brought back to court by his mother who complained to his probation officer of him not following the rules of the home, breaking curfew, and using marijuana.  This resulted in him being held in Broad Street for one week in the summer of 2009.  Prior to his hearing, Pablo seemed unperturbed by the potential for such action to be taken.

After a week in detention, he expressed a desire to return home but remained largely unfazed by the experience.  He considered it an annoyance a tolerable one.  He was then released from detention on a suspended detention order with conditions to obey the rules at home and community and to stop using marijuana.  A month after being released from detention, a ‘take into custody’ order was issued for Pablo after his mother again reported that he had violated the terms of his probation.[14]  He continued to use marijuana, had stopped taking his medication, and snuck out of the house at night to visit his girlfriend.  He was remanded–or sent back to detention for two weeks.  During this time he made several friends all of whom he planned to see once released from detention.  Other members of Pablo’s family including an older teenage cousin had been in detention before, and he felt that people who had spent time in detention were considered ‘tough’ and therefore admirable.

Detention Centers and Recidivism Rates

As the public demands a more punitive juvenile justice system, which leads to an increasing number of children in detention, the most obvious question is, do detention centers actually lower youth crime rates? Juvenile incarceration can result in the removal effect, the rehabilitative effect, and/or the deterrence effect which can impact recidivism. (Cromwell Jr. et al. 2002:402).  

According to deterrence theory,[15] “certain, swift, and severe punishment will stop juveniles from committing delinquent acts” (Lundman 1984:137).  Two types of deterrence exist, specific and general.  The definition of specific deterrence is “when juveniles are punished by the state for their delinquent actions,” therefore, placement in a detention center is a form of specific deterrence, with the idea being that when a delinquent youth is caught and punished it will demonstrate the consequences of their actions and what would occur if they were to continue down the path of delinquency (Lundman 137:1984).  Studies have shown that it is impossible to determine whether incarceration lowers or raises recidivism rates.

The experience within a detention center and its effect on the child are often quite different from these three intended effects, and in certain cases can have a negative impact upon the child.  Indeed both case studies are examples of such negative side effects.  María’s first incarceration failed to effectively deter her, because shortly after her release she knowingly violated her probation by running away—an action that she knew would result in a return to detention.  Although she did not re-offend per se, she did engage in delinquent behavior.  Therefore, detention had no deterrent effect upon her.

The second time she was in detention, the services provided to her had the potential to have a rehabilitative effect, but failed to do so because of outside factors such as harassment by her peers and her depression.  For María, her return to detention ultimately served to have a deterrent effect because she fell victim to the ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude’ which resulted in detention essentially serving as a holding cell for her while the court proceedings dragged out over several months (Cox and Conrad 1978:180).  This would suggest that detention was successful because it deterred her from re-offending.  It is important to note however, that it was not the detention program that deterred her but rather her negative experience within detention which was largely due to a failure of the program.  Experiences such as lack of ethnic familiarities, harassment from her peers, and difficulties with the staff, instilled within her an intense desire to never return to a program which had essentially been to her detriment.  Several months later, María has continued to remain in the community and out of detention although it remains unknown what lasting psychological effects this experience had.

Pablo’s experience within detention represents the failure of detention to cause a decrease in delinquent behavior.  Although the removal effect was successful, in that he was unable to commit further crimes while in detention, his almost immediate return demonstrates that it was neither a rehabilitative nor deterrent experience. Cox and Conrad suggest that an enhancement of knowledge and acceptance of delinquent behavior can result from a “frequency of contact with those holding favorable attitudes toward law violation” (Cox and Conrad 1978:180).  Pablo came in contact with what is known as  “delinquent subculture” which is often found within detention centers (Cox and Conrad 1978:180). 

In the case of Pablo, Edwin Sutherland’s theory of differential association explains why incarceration in a detention center was ineffective in both rehabilitation and/or punishment.  According to this theory, “individuals become predisposed toward criminality because of an excess of contacts that advocate criminal behavior” (Hagan 2002:157). Pablo’s time spent in detention exposed him to others with histories of delinquency.  Association with these individuals reinforced the idea that time in detention was a ‘badge of honor’ and gave him ‘street cred’, something he had already been exposed to by his cousin.  These individuals do not believe criminality to be negative, and this idea was conveyed to Pablo in the course of interactions with them.  Hagan classifies differential association theory as a behavioristic theory which demonstrates that previous behavior causes subsequent behavior (Hagan 2002:159). 

He learned to follow the rules outlined by the staff, and this conformity resulted in him achieving Level One status and being released back into the community.  While outside, he continued to interact with his friends he had made within detention, in addition to becoming the leader of other delinquent groups.  Less than a month after being released he was placed back in detention by a judge, saying at the time to his attorney.  After this occurred he expressed to his attorney that “yeah, I want to be outside but I’m not afraid to show people who is boss and I won’t let anyone push me around.”  Within detention he had learned from those around him that not only was delinquent behavior acceptable, it also made him tougher and therefore he felt no qualms about demonstrating his new-found machismo even if it resulted in him being back in detention. 

Essentially, detention proved to be counterproductive, as it resulted in an increased knowledge of delinquent behavior, interaction with other delinquent individuals, and a positive view of criminality, which became apparent after he failed to be able to operate within the community without re-offending. 

Numerous studies have shown that incarceration within a juvenile detention center does not prevent recidivism.  A study done in Georgia in 1993 by Michelle Wierson and Rex Forehand showed that out of a sample of seventy-five males “the recidivism rate was approximately one-third of the initial sample” (1995:63).  Lipsey argues that “it has not been demonstrated that rehabilitative treatment programs reduce the rate of subsequent offending among those treated, and indeed, the available evidence is more consistent with the conclusion that there are no effects on recidivism” (1998:611).  Another argument which was proposed by Ganzer and Sarason, is that there are many “variables associated with recidivism among juvenile delinquents” (1973:1).  This makes it difficult to determine the impact detention has given the number of variables at play and the difficulty in isolating them.  What then is the solution to lowering youth crime rates?  It would appear as if the relationship between time incarcerated in a detention center and recidivism lacks reliability and is largely dependent on the individual and the external factors associated with them. 

The likelihood of engaging in delinquent behavior is increased by disharmonious families, peer groups, and socially troubled neighborhoods.  Within the juvenile justice system, detention centers are designed to have a rehabilitative effect upon the child.  The examples of María and Pablo demonstrate that they do not serve this purpose and instead can negatively affect the child.  Detention centers have little impact on whether the individual re-offends, and in cases such as Pablo’s, they can be counterproductive. Delinquency can be attributed to a variety of social factors that occur both inside and outside of detention.  It is these, rather than a delinquent tendency or criminal personality traits, which cause individuals to take part in deviant behavior that can ultimately lead to incarceration in detention facilities.



[1] Conflict between children can also occur in disharmonious families but is less likely to lead to predispose an individual to delinquent behavior.

[2] Voting records of presidential elections demonstrate that for the past sixteen years, voters in Connecticut have voted in favor of a democrat ( This Isn't a Popularity Contest).

[3] Diversionary programs are meant to provide the child with a structured activity to occupy their time.  It is believed that these programs keep them busy and therefore give them less time to engage in criminal behavior.

[4] The most common medications prescribed are anti-depressants.  These included Abilify or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), a family of antidepressants that includes Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Paxil, and Celexa.  This group is the most widely used among adolescents suffering from depression (“Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) 2008").

[5] The only difference is that levels are called, from highest to lowest: Inspire, Reach, Teach.

[6] If a child fits one of the criteria this does not mean that they will automatically be placed in detention.  It means that the prosecution will ask a judge for detention which is then at the judge’s discretion.

[7] Both individuals presented were met while I interned with the Public Defender’s Office in Hartford, CT during the summer of 2009.

[8] Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual.

[9] A residential facility is a group home, it is a not a form of detention.

[10] Take-into-custody orders can only be issued by probation officers.

[11] Conduct disorder as defined by the American Psychiatric Association “the essential feature of conduct disorder is a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age appropriate societal norms or rules are violated” (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 2000:93).  Mood disorder NOS includes“ disorders with mood symptoms that do not meet the criteria for any specific mood disorder and in which it is difficult to choose between depressive disorder NOS and bipolar disorder NOS” (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 2000:410).

[12] Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual.

[13] Normally, a child with a history of delinquent behavior will have already been in detention by this age.

[14] It is unusual to have a family member, especially a mother, be so reliable in reporting her son’s violations.  This suggests that Pablo comes from a less disharmonious family.

[15] Deterrence theory states that when “the probabilities of being arrested and prosecuted for a crime are lower, the incidence of such crimes will be higher” (Stark 1987:903).


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