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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 199902 Find in a Library
Title: Strategies for Changing Public Attitudes to Punishment (From Changing Attitudes to Punishment: Public Opinion, Crime and Justice, P 1-14, 2002, Julian V. Roberts, and Mike Hough, eds., -- See NCJ-199891)
Author(s): David Indermaur; Mike Hough
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Book (Hardbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter discusses the scope for strategies that improve public knowledge and public confidence in the administration of justice.
Abstract: The current state of public knowledge about crime and justice poses challenges for those concerned with the quality of penal policy. Criminal justice systems depend on public confidence for their effective operation. When poorly informed, public opinion can drive policy towards ineffective or unfair responses to crime. The problems posed by public misunderstanding and criticism are problems of government and ones that demand a governmental response. Other stakeholders are the judiciary, the voluntary sector, criminal justice professionals, and the research community. The key problems in public opinion on punishment are misunderstanding of the nature of crime and punishment; overestimating the utility of punishment and the value of imprisonment; and underestimating the value of alternative responses to crime. There are two types of problems in dealing with public attitudes. First, at the cognitive level is the level and quality of the information. Second, at the emotional level are the fears, frustrations, and uncertainties experienced by the public. Public attitudes are influenced by a range of factors, including the media, political decisionmakers, and special interest groups. One strategy that may have value in shaping public knowledge and attitudes is improving the quality of public knowledge and understanding about crime and penal policy. There are questions of when and how information is presented and the extent and nature of the information presented. The most fundamental strategy is to provide succinct, accessible information on crime to journalists. The Internet provides information to anyone with motivation to seek it out. Sensing the emotional mood of the public is an essential skill for those groups whose livelihood depends directly upon public reactions. 1 figure, 11 notes, 26 references
Main Term(s): Public education; Public Opinion of Corrections
Index Term(s): Corrections policies; Media coverage; Media support; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public relations programs; Special interest groups
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