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NCJ Number: 201937 Find in a Library
Title: Impact of Causal Attribution on Correctional Ideology: A National Study
Journal: Criminal Justice Review  Volume:28  Issue:1  Dated:Spring 2003  Pages:1-25
Author(s): Barbara Sims
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 25
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the hypothesis from attribution theory that the way citizens think about why people commit crime can influence their views toward punishment.
Abstract: Data were analyzed from the National Opinion Survey on Crime and Justice-1996, a national assessment of public attitudes toward crime and criminal justice. The total number of completed interviews from the survey was 1,085 with a response rate of 54 percent. Forty-six questions were developed using the major propositions or concepts of 10 theoretical perspectives: classical, biological, psychological, social disorganization, strain, subcultural, social leaning, social control/bonding, labeling, and critical. The results show that causal attribution is related to individuals’ punitiveness, controlling for such variables as age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income, fear of crime, and people’s confidence in the criminal justice system. The more citizens viewed crime causation from a structural or labeling perspective, the less likely they were to be punitive, and the less likely to support capital punishment. Many citizens would favor something other than sanctions that come from a pure crime-control model of justice. Further examinations of the relationship between causal attribution and punitiveness should pay careful attention to how causal attribution is measured. Additional work is needed to better understand how the confidence that citizens place in the criminal justice system, together with how fearful they are about being criminally victimized, influences how they think about punishment. 1 figure, 3 tables, 44 references, appendix
Main Term(s): Corrections policies; Public Opinion of Corrections
Index Term(s): Attitude measurement; Fear of crime; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Punishment; Rehabilitation; Research uses in policymaking
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