Do Penalties Keep People from Committing Crimes?
I'm very skeptical about the statement that penalties prevent people from committing crimes. There are obviously no facts to back this up (or are there?).
I often hear though that it's better not to do things that are against the law (the institute) because you could end up in jail. But in many cases crimes are committed, with or without a thought spent on ensuing penalties.
The prisons often haven't enough place to put the people away who are convicted of whatever crime (stealing, robbing, rape, war crimes, political "crimes", etc.). Especially in the U.S.A. ("thanks" to former President Clinton), a huge number of people are locked up for the tiniest offense.
So, people do commit crimes. Preconceived or due to circumstances. Maybe it can even be said that due to the punishments people commit crimes in most intractable ways, if preconceived.
All of this is the reason for my skepticism. Is my skepticism "justified"?
I edit because I read this question: Is there any moral reasoning behind punishment?
Is there a difference between these two questions? If the punishment doesn't help is there a reason to ask about a moral system on which you base judgement?