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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 114412 Find in a Library
Title: Tolerance of Leniency and Severity in England and Wales (From Public Attitudes to Sentencing, P 178-202, 1988, Nigel Walker and Mike Hough, eds. -- See NCJ-114405)
Author(s): N Walker; M Hough; H Lewis
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 25
Sponsoring Agency: Avebury Publishing Co
Brookfield, VT 05036
Sale Source: Avebury Publishing Co
Old Post Road
Brookfield, VT 05036
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Attitudes toward sentencing policies and practices were investigated in a 1986 survey of 1,249 adults in England and Wales.
Abstract: Although the survey was introduced as being about social issues, the level of crime and sentencing of criminals were the most frequently discussed issues. A majority of respondents could recall a recent case that had received media attention, and of these, 75 percent could recall the outcome of the case. Of respondents, 46 percent reported being shocked or surprised by a recent sentence; and most of these cited the leniency of the sentence as the major reason. Just deserts was the most frequently cited aim of sentencing, followed by deterrence, compensation, and reform. A majority felt courts should pay some attention to public opinion in sentencing. However, not many were well informed about actual sentencing practice, tending to underestimate the severity of actual sentences. Respondents also felt that courts were too lenient, particularly in sentencing violent offenders. Asked to rank a variety of sanctions according to severity, respondents viewed probation and other noncustodial sentences as more lenient than imprisonment, but not all respondents regarded probation as more lenient than fines or community service. While most respondents felt that sentences generally were too soft, a majority felt that actual sentences in news clippings were about right. Finally, even when respondents thought a sentence was too soft or too tough, they thought remedial action was needed only in two-fifths of cases. Appeal to a higher court was the most popular course of remedial action. 7 tables, 10 notes, and 10 references.
Main Term(s): Public Opinion of Corrections
Index Term(s): England; Sentencing disparity; Wales
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