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NCJ Number: 203584 Find in a Library
Title: Justification for Punishing Crimes Against the Elderly: Perceptions of Police Chiefs, Nursing Home Professionals, and Students
Journal: Journal of Offender Rehabilitation  Volume:38  Issue:1  Dated:2003  Pages:33-51
Author(s): Brian K. Payne
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 19
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study assessed how different groups of professionals justify reasons for punishing those who abuse elders.
Abstract: The problem of elder abuse began to gain widespread recognition in the mid-1970’s, while policymakers began grappling with the problem in the 1980’s. While some research has focused on this problem, scant research has focused on how such cases are handled by the criminal justice system. In order to assess how various professionals justify punishment for those who abuse elders, survey questionnaires were mailed to police chiefs and nursing home professionals. Surveys were also administered to students in criminal justice and sociology courses. The surveys collected demographic information and contained Likert-type statements about elder abuse; a section with six crime scenarios in which respondents were asked to choose appropriate sanctions and provide a justification for the sanction; and questions regarding definitions of elder abuse. Justifications for punishments included the typical punishment justifications of general deterrence, specific deterrence, rehabilitation, retribution, incapacitation, and victim satisfaction. Respondents returning completed surveys included 68 police chiefs, 54 nursing home directors, 132 nursing home employees, and 127 students. Results of statistical analyses indicate that police chiefs and students had more punitive attitudes toward those who abused elders, while nursing home professionals had a more rehabilitative stance toward these types of offenders. The findings support the need for a more collaborative approach to the problem of elder abuse on the part of law enforcement and nursing home professionals. Future research should consider the role of the police and other criminal justice professionals in responding to elder abuse. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Elder Abuse; Punishment
Index Term(s): Public Opinion of Corrections; Public Opinion of Crime; Surveys
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