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However, in order to provide the most deterrent effect, he felt punishment must: Beccaria wrote that criminals must have a reasonable fear of a definite punishment for their acts.In other words, the probability of punishment should be certain in order to deter the criminal.
Let's look more closely at some of the major points made through On Crimes and Punishments.
Beccaria forwarded two important philosophical theories through his text. Social contract refers to the belief that the government exists solely to serve the people, and the people are the source of the government's political power.
He opposed the death penalty in most cases based on this same argument.
Beccaria felt capital punishment was needlessly severe.
Because many of the criminal choices can be anticipated, society should take measures to manipulate and discourage those choices.
Society could discourage the choices by setting criminal punishments severe enough to keep people from choosing to commit crimes.
Punishment should increase the overall amount of happiness in the world and create a better society.
In Beccaria's time, criminal punishment was often based on retribution. Deterrence is a type of prevention meaning that the threat of punishment outweighs the urge to commit a crime.
To that end, the punishment need not be any more severe than what is needed to outweigh the advantages of the crime.
For example, it's not useful to give life in prison for a shoplifting case when the shoplifter will be sufficiently deterred by the threat of a month in jail.