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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 199901 Find in a Library
Title: Improving Public Knowledge About Crime and Punishment (From Changing Attitudes to Punishment: Public Opinion, Crime and Justice, P 184-197, 2002, Julian V. Roberts, and Mike Hough, eds., -- See NCJ-199891)
Author(s): Catriona Mirrlees-Black
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: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Book (Hardbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter discusses findings from an experimental research study by the British Home Office in 2000 informing the public on criminal justice issues.
Abstract: Providing the public with information on the criminal justice system was identified as an important element to promote public confidence. The approach taken was to provide simple facts about crime and the criminal justice system in three user-friendly formats: booklets, a seminar, and a video, and to monitor the impact of these interventions on knowledge and attitudes using before and after interviews. About 1,000 people were interviewed. Substantial proportions of all groups thought they had learned a lot from participating in the study. Just under half admitted that they had changed their views about crime and sentencing in some way. Most of these were now more positive, with many saying that they now had more faith in the criminal justice system and in alternatives to custody. Others felt more confident that there was an emphasis on crime reduction. Greater awareness of trends in crime, the risks of victimization, and an understanding of criminal justice system procedures were most often cited as the reason for these changes. The small minority that were less positive mentioned the length of a custodial sentence served, a greater awareness of crime generally, and a concern that they had been fed propaganda. Despite participants attributing their improved confidence to the information they had been given, there was little evidence of a direct statistical link between improved knowledge and confidence. The viability of using any of the three methods for promoting positive attitudes depends on a number of factors in addition to their effectiveness at changing attitudes. These factors include participation rates, cost, and the extent to which the information spreads to a wider audience. 4 figures, 1 table, 12 notes, 13 references
Main Term(s): Attitude measurement; Public Opinion of Corrections
Index Term(s): Corrections policies; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public education; Public Opinion of Crime; Public Opinion of the Courts; Public relations programs
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