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When a criminal is contemplating a crime, does he/she take into account the possibility of being caught and jailed?

Asked by elbanditoroso (22418points) January 9th, 2017

[I’m talking about planned crimes here, not crimes of passion.]

Let’s say that a criminal is making plans to rob a bank, or embezzle money, or murder someone – something serious. Not shoplifting. I assume that the criminal thinks about what they’re planning to do, maybe buys a weapon, plans the getaway route, and so on and so forth.

Do criminals ever factor in the possibility of jail time? Does a criminal say “well, if I rob the bank, I could get 10 years in the state pen – is it worth the risk?”.

Basically, does the possibility (and severity) of punishment weigh into the decision to do, or not do, the crime?

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