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NCJ Number: 200351 Find in a Library
Title: Attitudes Toward Hate Crime Laws
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:31  Issue:3  Dated:May/June 2003  Pages:227-235
Author(s): Stephen D. Johnson; Bryan D. Byers
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the views of the general public toward what should be in a hate crime law.
Abstract: A hate crime is a criminal offense committed against a person or property that is motivated in whole or in part by the offender’s prejudice against the victim’s race, religion, ethnicity or national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. A survey was conducted in a moderate-size city. The survey was designed to ask respondents whether or not they would support a sentence-enhancing hate crime law and to examine why someone would support or not support such a law. The sample consisted of 630 residents that planned to vote in the 2000 presidential election. The basic demographic variables measured in the survey included respondent sex, race, age, income, and education level. Results indicate that 39.6 percent of the sample strongly supported a sentence-enhancing hate crime law; 36.1 percent somewhat supported; 10.3 percent somewhat opposed; and 14 percent strongly opposed such a law. Sixty-six percent of the sample supported the idea that crimes against homosexuals should be included in hate crime laws; 19 percent did not support; and 15 percent were neutral. Only 18 percent thought that a racial or ethnic slur should be a violation of a hate crime law. Sixty-six percent agreed that hate crimes had increased. Seventy-two percent believed that hate crimes created fear in other minorities. When considering public support, a hate crime law would probably pass in the State legislature of a State that does not have a sentence-enhancing hate crime law. The data indicated that the major reason why such a law probably had not passed in many States was that people did not want crimes against homosexuals included in sentence-enhancing hate crime laws. 2 figures, 2 tables, 2 notes, 49 references
Main Term(s): Hate Crimes; Public Attitudes/Opinion
Index Term(s): Attitude measurement; Bias related violence; Homosexuality; Racially motivated violence; Sexual behavior; State laws
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