BAD : Stricter punishments would prevent people from doing these things.
GOOD : Stricter punishments would deter people from doing these things.
prevent = stop someone from doing something: 'They locked all the doors to prevent him escaping.'
deter = discourage someone from doing something: 'Tougher laws are needed to deter people from drinking and driving.'
BAD : Stricter punishments may help to prevent society from serious crime.
GOOD : Stricter punishments may help to protect society from serious crime.
prevent = stop something from happening: 'Bad weather prevented the plane from taking off.' 'Good tyres help to prevent accidents.'
protect = keep someone or something safe: 'The camera comes with a free leather carrying case to protect it.' 'It is the responsibility of the police and the courts to protect us from these killers and maniacs.'
BAD : His parents tried to prevent him to join the army.
GOOD : His parents tried to prevent him from joining the army.
prevent sb (from) doing sth : 'Girls should not be prevented from taking part in these sports.'