Although criminal law can be justified with respect to non-utilitarian goals such as retribution, no one can deny that one way to justify criminal law is with respect to the instrumental ends of deterrence. So, one question of interest to scholars in the field has been how to think about the kinds of criminal law policy that encourage compliance. My own work has focused on this important question. Specifically, I have been concerned with the ways in which different kinds of criminal proscriptions, along with certain methods of law enforcement, could affect crime rates in disadvantaged, urban neighborhoods. In undertaking such analyses, I have emphasized classical sociological theory and social psychology, often for the purpose of criticizing economic approaches to crime control, which have been interpreted to emphasize higher levels of severe punishments for conduct such as drug offenses.
Tracey L. Meares,
Signaling, Legitimacy, and Compliance: A Comment on Posner's Law and Social Norms and Criminal Law Policy,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol36/iss2/5