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NCJ Number: 228891 Find in a Library
Title: Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal?: Redeemability and the Psychology of Punitive Public Attitudes
Journal: European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research  Volume:15  Issue:1-2  Dated:June 2009  Pages:7-24
Author(s): Shadd Maruna; Anna King
Date Published: June 2009
Page Count: 18
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: Based on data from a survey of residents in six areas of England, this study tested the hypothesis that “belief in redeemability” (ability of deviants to change their ways) is as critical an attribute in determining an individual’s support for highly punitive criminal justice policies as beliefs about criminal responsibility.
Abstract: The study found that of the four groups categorized in the survey analysis, the least punitive group was composed of those who both believed that crime has social origins and that people can change. The most punitive group consisted of those who believe that crime is a choice of the individual; and once the choice is made, the person cannot change. The other two groups (those who believed in the social origins of crime but not the ability of individuals to change, and those who believed that crime is a choice and that people can choose to change) were both moderately punitive. This analysis draws on survey data collected as part of the Cambridge University Public Opinion Project, a three-phase study designed to explore the origins and dynamics of public attitudes toward justice issues. The first phase of the survey involved a mail survey of 941 British households that included a new, 8-item measure of punitiveness. The second phase of the study involved exploratory interviews with a sample of the respondents with the highest punitiveness scores and a matched sample of respondents with the lowest scores on that measure. Interviewees talked about their lives, their experiences with punishment and/or injustice, their experiences of punishing others, experiences in witnessing punishment or a lack thereof, and aspects of identity. The goal was to find themes that characterized the world views or self-identities of each group. 4 tables and 98 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Foreign criminal justice research; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Public Opinion of Corrections; Public Opinion of Crime; Punishment
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