Sociology Index


Incapacitation is a philosophy of incarceration that some offenders might have to be incarcerated not for what they have done but to prevent future harm to the community. Selective incapacitation comes under dangerous offender legislation. The philosophy of incapacitation depends on the ability of the community to identify those that might re-offend.

Some also argue that incapacitation is unfair as incapacitation is 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 Ethics of Selective Incapacitation: Observations on the Contemporary Debate 
Andrew von Hirsch, Crime & Delinquency, Vol. 30, No. 2, 175-194 (1984)
Selective Incapacitation strategies raise the issue of the fairness of prediction-based sentencing. The tension between selective incapacitation and desert cannot be ignored. The use of selective incapacitation strategies in sentencing entails sacrifices of equity for offenders.

Selective Incapacitation: Sentencing According to Risk - John Blackmore, Jane Welsh, Crime & Delinquency, Vol. 29, No. 4, 504-528 (1983) - The history, criticism and impact of selective incapacitation.

Recent proposals for the selective incapacitation of criminal offenders have generated a great deal of enthusiasm and controversy. The controversy stems from concerns of science and of ethics. Describes the selective incapacitation proposal and the scientific and ethical controversiest.

Are Idle Hands the Devil's Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration, and Juvenile Crime, Jacob B.A, Lefgren L.
The short-term effect of school on juvenile crime. Findings suggest that both incapacitation and concentration influence juvenile crime.

Deterrence and Incapacitation: An Interrupted Time-Series Analysis of California's Three Strikes law - Ramirez J.R.; Crano W.D. - Source: Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Volume 33, Number 1, 1 January 2003.
Investigates the impact of California's three-strikes law on instrumental, violent, drug-related and minor crimes over the first 5 years of the law'simplementation.

The Determinants of Punishment: Deterrence, Incapacitation and Vengeance
Does the economic model of optimal punishment explain the variation in the sentencing of murderers? We find that murderers with a high expected probability of criminal recidivism receive longer sentences.

The Philadelphia Birth Cohort and Selective Incapacitation 
The birth cohort data from Wolfgang and colleagues' 1972 study is analyzed to determine marginal benefits and marginal costs, as compared to present rates if nine hypothetical incapacitation policies had been in effect.

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 potential effect of accounting for exposure time by examining the arrests of 272 offenders who were paroled at age 18 and followed through age 33.

The Goals of Corrections: Perspectives from the Line 
Misty Kifer, Craig Hemmens, Mary K. Stohr.
Four different goals of corrections are retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitative ideal. That prison staff are more likely than not to perceive the primary goal of corrections as incapacitation.

Prison Overcrowding: The Law's Dilemma 
The importance of criminal sentencing policy to prison overcrowding and comprehensive sentencing reform that emphasizes selective incapacitation of dangerous offenders as a sensible approach. The use of selective incapacitation provided for in the new law offers a constructive approach to the problem of prison overcrowding.

Incapacitation and Just Deserts as Motives for Punishment 
Motives for Punishment. Just deserts motive or a desire to incarcerate 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 - Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Justice, National Institute of Justice, United States.
This predictive evaluation in California concludes that the State's "Three Strikes" law will not be effective in incapacitating dangerous offenders. Sentencing policies must make clear the characteristics of a dangerous offender and must ensure that these dangerous offenders are actually the ones targeted for selective incapacitation.

On the Usefulness of Controlling Individuals: An Economic Analysis of Rehabilitation, Incapacitation, and Deterrence - Ehrlich, Isaac.