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NCJ Number: 222559 
Title: Punitivity in Germany: Attitudes to Punishment, Sentencing, and Prison Rates (From International Perspectives on Punitivity, P 107-138, 2008, Helmut Kury and Theodore N. Ferdinand, eds. -- See NCJ-222554)
Author(s): Helmut Kury; Theodore Ferdinand; Joachim Obergfell-Fuchs
Date Published: 2008
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: Universitatsverlag Brockmeyer
44797 Bochum,
Sale Source: Universitatsverlag Brockmeyer
Im Haarmannsbusch 112
44797 Bochum,
Germany (Unified)
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: Germany (Unified)
Annotation: After considering methodological difficulties in measuring punitiveness toward offenders, this paper examines the link between the fear of crime and punitiveness toward offenders, followed by a review of the development of punitiveness internationally in recent years, with attention to trends in punitiveness in East and West Germany.
Abstract: The discussion of the methodological difficulties in measuring punitiveness toward offenders notes the many domains in which punitiveness must be measured, including public attitudes, penal laws, sentencing by judges, and the instruments of punishment. Surveys as an instrument of measuring punitiveness are often inaccurate due to the phrasing of questions and their lack of attention to attitudes about punishment for various types of offenders and offenses. A section on the meaning of the fear of crime notes the tenuous link between fear of crime and punitiveness, since fear of crime is apparently related to the public's broader concerns about economic and social instability. In spite of the difficulties cited in measuring punitiveness, the authors report on survey results across nations that show a gradual increase in a preference for stronger sanctions for certain crimes, namely, sexual offenses, especially child sexual abuse; violent juveniles; and drug offenses. In Europe, the West Germans and particularly the French stand out as being less punitive than most other nations. For many years in Germany, however, the trend has been toward more prison sentences for longer periods, such that many prisons are currently overcrowded. This trend has been particularly strong for foreign offenders. In critiquing these trends toward increased punitiveness in nations generally, the authors advise that policymakers should rely more on the findings of scientific criminology in forging sentencing and correctional policies, with a focus on the cost-effectiveness of various sanctions for various types of offenses and offenders. 9 figures and 40 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Foreign policies; Foreign sentencing; Incarceration; Public Opinion of Corrections; Public Opinion of the Courts; Punishment; Sentencing/Sanctions
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