In criminology or the sociology of the military , deterrent and preventive measures can overlap, since both aim to discourage certain acts or place restrictions on the rational choices of others. The threat of imprisonment or of nuclear escalation are held to be deterrents and hence preventive of crime or nuclear war. In relation to crime, the threat of arrest, trial, conviction, and punishment is viewed as a general deterrent. Deterrence, as a general objective, is also invoked to justify punishment. Imprisonment is assumed to be a powerful deterrent but its effectiveness in persuading potential offenders to avoid crime is disputed. However, prison also seeks to reform, and may be said to deter crime if an individual commits no further crime after release. Nevertheless, in most modern penal systems, recidivism is high.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • deterrence — 1861; see DETERRENT (Cf. deterrent) + ENCE (Cf. ence) …   Etymology dictionary

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  • deterrence — [[t]dɪte̱rəns, AM tɜ͟ːr [/t]] N UNCOUNT Deterrence is the prevention of something, especially war or crime, by having something such as weapons or punishment to use as a threat. ...policies of nuclear deterrence …   English dictionary

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  • deterrence — de|ter|rence [ dı terəns ] noun uncount 1. ) the idea that people will decide not to do something if they believe that something unpleasant could happen to them as a result 2. ) the idea that the possession of a particular weapon will make other… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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