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NCJ Number: 199896 Find in a Library
Title: Evolution of Public Attitudes to Punishment in Western and Eastern Europe (From Changing Attitudes to Punishment: Public Opinion, Crime and Justice, P 93-114, 2002, Julian V. Roberts, and Mike Hough, eds., -- See NCJ-199891)
Author(s): Helmut Kury; Joachim Obergfell-Fuchs; Ursula Smartt
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 12
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: Historical Overview
Format: Book (Hardbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter discusses public attitudes toward punishment in Western and Eastern Europe.
Abstract: In the wake of European social and political changes during the 1990's, there has been an increase in crime rates and mounting public fear, particularly in Eastern European states. Exaggerated crime reporting became increasingly common in most Western European industrialized nations. The press tends to promote a “necessary” degree of punitiveness for the most serious offenses. In this context, the public has expressed a heightened emphasis on punishment over the last decade. The European Union has an official policy of promoting abolition of the death penalty around the world. Although crime rates remained relatively stable in Central and Eastern European countries from the mid-1990's onward, there has been a marked increase in the imprisonment rate in most of these states. At the same time, attitudes to punishment have become more punitive in a number of countries. The reasons for this partly lie in the political revolutions experienced by a number of Eastern European states. The political turbulence has led to growing feelings of unease and fear of crime, coupled with increasing mistrust in governmental regimes, state systems, and judicial control mechanisms. Public skepticism about the benefits of rehabilitative sanctions is greater than ever before. Similar findings have emerged from Western European nations where some spectacular cases of corruption within the political arena have led to growing public uncertainty. Popular slogans such as “zero tolerance,” “three strikes and you’re out,” and “truth in sentencing” have great resonance among the general public. Harsher penal sanctions have now become part of many Western European election slogans, which present policies for getting tough with most serious offenders. In the current punitive climate, it is difficult for policymakers to promote alternative criminal sanctions. Restorative justice or rehabilitative penal regimes will not attract a great deal of support from the public. 1 figure, 4 tables, 54 references
Main Term(s): Eastern Europe; Public Opinion of Corrections; Western Europe
Index Term(s): Attitude measurement; Community-based corrections (adult); Corrections; Corrections-media relations; Fear of crime; Public Attitudes/Opinion
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