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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 222563 
Title: Reducing Punitiveness: Strategies for Engendering a More Informed Crime Policy (From International Perspectives on Punitivity, P 209-226, 2008, Helmut Kury and Theodore N. Ferdinand, eds. -- See NCJ-222554)
Author(s): David Indermaur
Date Published: 2008
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Universitatsverlag Brockmeyer
44797 Bochum,
Sale Source: Universitatsverlag Brockmeyer
Im Haarmannsbusch 112
44797 Bochum,
Germany (Unified)
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: Germany (Unified)
Annotation: After concluding that the development and implementation of cost-effective rather than punitive criminal justice policies is impeded by a blend of uninformed public opinion, political motivations, and media interests, this paper suggests ways that the promotion of punitiveness in these interactions can be reduced.
Abstract: The paper advises that it is possible for criminologists to influence public opinion positively and effectively by stirring media interest in empirical evidence of what works in controlling various types of crime and in preventing reoffending by offenders. Further, the public and politicians can be encouraged to take an analytical rather than an impulsive approach to crime and criminals by staging well-informed debates about the causes of crime and alternative ways of addressing these causes. This paper provides a brief overview of how public and political attitudes are formed toward crime and how it should be addressed, followed by an outline of some ways of improving public debate and policy. The recommendations focus on methods for ensuring that criminological knowledge and evidence is more likely to be a topic of media coverage and political discourse. The recommendations relate to both structural reforms and the strategic use of information. Structural reforms include establishing and supporting institutions that can operate as a "policy buffer" to monitor and provide input to public debate on crime policy, so as to dampen the influence of political rhetoric and the media's taste for simplistic drama as framers for public attitudes about crime and criminal justice policy. Strategic approaches address not only the timely provision of relevant information but also focus the debate on the costs and benefits of various policies as determined by evaluative research. 40 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Crime control policies; Criminal justice system policy; Media coverage; Media support; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public Opinion of Corrections; Public Opinion of the Courts; Punishment; Sentencing/Sanctions
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