Harsher punishments can deter people from cheating because then they don't want to receive the harsher punishment. "They might commit a crime if the penalty/punishment is not very high"(career ride.com) In this article, the author discusses how someone might commit a crime because the punishment for that crime is not very severe. So if the punishment for cheating wasn't very severe more people would do it because the pros of cheating out weigh the cons. It's when there is a harsh punishment put in place that those individuals will be less likely to cheat because it's not worth getting caught.
Harsher punishments can also be ineffective. "Often enough would-be criminals either lack rational beliefs about their situation or struggle to act on those rational beliefs."(psychology today.com) In the article it says that often people commit crimes not even knowing what the punishment is, so if it was a harsher punishment it wouldn't matter because the person wouldn't know what the punishment is. Chance of getting caught also comes into play because if not many people get caught cheating than a person would cheat thinking that they wouldn't get caught.
In my opinion I think that harsher punishments can work, but only so much. Like if there was an extreme punishment than yes, less people would cheat. But you can only make a punishment so harsh before it becomes cruel or irrational. So I think that there should be better ways to find out if students are cheating because if almost everyone got caught cheating then a lot less people would cheat because they have a higher chance of getting caught.