Proactive Criminal Thinking and Restrictive Deterrence : A Pathway to Future Offending and Sanction Avoidance

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Original languageEnglish
Article number11636
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number18
Online published15 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022



Perceived crime benefit and criminal thinking are essential factors in predicting future offending. However, less is known about how the interaction of the two influences individuals' perception and cognition of crime. This study explores whether proactive criminal thinking mediates the effect of perceived crime benefit, and tests whether restrictive deterrence influences these pathways. Using a drug dealer sample that was drawn from the Second RAND Inmate Survey, this paper finds that proactive criminal thinking significantly mediates the effect of perceived crime benefit on future offending, criminal self-efficacy, and future sanction avoidance. Mediation pathways are enhanced when taking a heterogeneous crime strategy as a moderator, but only in the experienced drug dealer subsample. These results suggest that proactive criminal thinking is a route for channeling the effects of perceived crime benefit, and an amplifier for bringing restrictive deterrence into play. Both roles apply to experienced offenders rather than less-experienced offenders. Integrating restrictive deterrence with individuals' perception and cognition of crime is a meaningful attempt to fit restrictive deterrence into a broader theoretical map.

Research Area(s)

  • crime strategy, drug dealers, perceived crime benefit, proactive criminal thinking, restrictive deterrence

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