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NCJ Number: 199849 Find in a Library
Title: Changing Attitudes Toward House Arrest with Electronic Monitoring: The Impact of a Single Presentation?
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology  Volume:47  Issue:2  Dated:April 2003  Pages:196-209
Author(s): Randy R. Gainey; Brian K. Payne
Date Published: April 2003
Page Count: 14
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines whether education on the nature of electronic monitoring can alter public perceptions of the effectiveness of such an alternative to incarceration.
Abstract: In order for community-based correctional programs to succeed, widespread community support is essential. In terms of electronic monitoring of offenders in lieu of incarceration, there are generally two opinions that predominate. In one camp are those who view electronic monitoring as a cost-effective means of punishing offenders and a good use of technological advances. In the other camp are individuals who view electronic monitoring as soft on criminals and a step toward a “big brother” type of society in which anyone’s privacy may be trampled. Previous research has indicated that the general population has little knowledge about crime and the criminal justice system. As such, the current study examined whether the public perception that electronic monitoring of offenders is a less than punitive measure and goes “soft” on criminals could be changed through an educational presentation about the nature of this alternative to incarceration. The authors utilized a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design in which students in one upper level juvenile delinquency college course were surveyed on their perceptions of electronic monitoring 1 week prior to a guest lecture on electronic monitoring. Immediately following the lecture, the same students, 61 in total, were again surveyed on their perceptions of this alternative punishment method. Results of statistical analyses revealed that prior to the educational presentation about the nature of electronic monitoring, students were more likely to view this type of sanction as a weak punishment but one that was more cost-effective than incarceration. However, student opinions regarding the punitive nature of electronic monitoring changed measurably after the presentation. The authors note that the presentation was not designed to make students proponents of electronic monitoring, but rather to have them think critically about the concept. These results are important because they show that education regarding criminal justice system policies and sanctions can aid in garnering community support for community-based correctional programs. They also show how a lack of knowledge about such policies and programs can hamper support for such programs. References
Main Term(s): Electronic monitoring of offenders
Index Term(s): Community support; Community-based corrections (adult); Community-based corrections (juvenile); Criminal justice education; Educational benefits; Perception; Public education
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