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NCJ Number: 199892 Find in a Library
Title: Public Attitudes Punishment: The Context (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): Julian V. Roberts; Mike Hough
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 14
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: Issue Overview
Format: Book (Hardbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter discusses the context of public attitudes to punishment.
Abstract: Criminal justice systems of all western nations face the common problem of responding to public attitudes to punishment. Public opinion is often cited when making and implementing policy. In order to best respond to the views of the public, the evolution of public opinion, limitations of public knowledge, limitations on various methods of sounding the views of the public, and impediments to rational penal reform must be understood. The change of public attitudes refers to attitudinal change and the ways in which public opinion shifts. It is believed that politicians, policymakers, and judges have a duty to lead public views and to inform people about the uses of certain sanctions and the disuses of others. However, there needs to be some political and judicial response to public opinion. Research has shown that people think first of prisons as a punishment, but after being informed of the alternatives, demonstrate considered flexibility. Associating punishment with prison is common because prison is the most familiar punishment in the public mind and the news media, politicians, and advocacy groups support this association. There is also the belief that legal punishment should reflect the seriousness of the conduct for which it is imposed. Greater clarity needs to be brought to community penalties. There is also a great necessity to invest more resources in the supervision of offenders serving sentences in the community. If the public is given better information, and if politicians pay less attention to simple opinion polls, there will be an improvement in public confidence in justice as well as more rational sentencing policy development. 2 notes, 29 references
Main Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Public Opinion of Corrections
Index Term(s): Community-based corrections (juvenile); Corrections; Corrections-media relations; Deinstitutionalization; Incapacitation theory; Public Attitudes/Opinion
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