Garoupa and Rizzolli (2012) are responsible for conducting research in the area of wrongful convictions and their impact on deterrence. Their in-depth analysis of the situation showed that the implementation of a policy intended to increase the level of incarcerations subsequently led to a significant increase in deterrence rates. Nonetheless, it was stated by the authors of this article that this theory is majorly disapproved by the majority of legal apparatuses despite factual evidence. In their research, Garoupa and Rizzolli (2012) also discuss the negative influence that wrongful convictions tend to have on the guilty and the innocent. They explicitly state that wrongful convictions spoil the balance between the two and affect the objectivity of the US criminal justice system. The authors of the article state that the public is exposed to the risks of committing crimes and this ultimately leads to the mitigation of an increased number of wrongful convictions by means of inducing deterrence. Garoupa and Rizzolli (2012) believe that the influence of deterrence on diverse social layers should be taken into consideration when discussing the US criminal justice system.
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The key finding of the study consists in the fact that deterrence reduces the occurrence of wrongful convictions. There may be certain mistakes inherent in the legal process that may impact the outcomes of a trial. This means that the policy regarding deterrence and wrongful convictions may affect criminals as well as innocent citizens. Garoupa and Rizzolli (2012) state that important theoretical implications are inherent in the discussed policy and its phenomenon has to be discussed further. The authors recommend to contest the generality of the existing policy and revise it in accordance with the findings of the study. Moreover, Garoupa and Rizzolli (2012) recommend paying attention to the fact that the majority of the criminal process characteristics (for instance, evidence) tend to be one of the most contributing factors to the number of wrongful convictions. Therefore, they claim that wrongful exonerations may be tolerated in case if the rules of evidence are being followed by the law enforcement agency and the court responsible for the hearing of the given case (Mallicoat, 2016). Previous discussions on the topic of criminal justice issues in the US show that there are numerous important issues that are currently being overlooked due to their virtual unimportance. Regardless, the problem of connecting the notions of deterrence and wrongful conviction should be considered one of the top priorities of the Government because it has an inextricable impact on society (Marion & Oliver, 2015).
When applying the findings of the authors of this article to the issue of the existing criminal justice policy, we have to consider a number of consequential factors. First, we should not generalize the findings of the discussed article because ultimately it might lead to a flawed explanation of the criminal procedures based on deterrence (in this case, wrongful convictions may become isolated from the deterrence practice). Second, we should take into consideration the biased nature of criminal dealings connected to deterrence. Garoupa and Rizzolli’s (2012) findings can be applied to increase the practical performance of the existing criminal justice system. This effect can be achieved by means of developing the custom theoretical agenda that was proposed by the authors of the article. The key advantage of that framework consists in the fact that it allows distinguishing between wrongful acquittals and convictions and explains why the latter is way more damaging in terms of impact on society.
Garoupa, N., & Rizzolli, M. (2012). Wrongful convictions do lower deterrence. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 168(2), 224-231. Web.
Mallicoat, S. (2016). Crime and criminal justice: Concepts and controversies. New York, NY: SAGE.
Marion, N. E., & Oliver, W. (2015). Public policy of crime and criminal justice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.