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Don't Jump the Shark: Understanding Deterrence and Legitimacy in the Architecture of Law Enforcement

Tracey Meares, Deputy Dean, Walton Hale Hamilton Professor, Yale Law School

Deterrence theory dominates the American understanding of how to regulate criminal behavior but social psychologists' research shows that people comply for reasons that have nothing to do with fear of punishment; they have to do with values, fair procedures and how people connect with one another. Professor Meares discussed the relevance of social psychologists' emerging theory to legal theory and practice and how deterrence and emerging social psychology theories intertwine. She described her own research in urban police departments where she has attempted to integrate the findings from social psychology with deterrence and violence reduction strategies.

Date Published: November 3, 2010