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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 229398 Find in a Library
Title: Improving Public Confidence in the Criminal Justice System: An Evaluation of a Communication Activity
Journal: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:48  Issue:5  Dated:December 2009  Pages:485-500
Author(s): Lawrence Singer; Suzanne Cooper
Date Published: December 2009
Page Count: 16
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This British study evaluated the effectiveness of using a booklet, which was delivered to 2,000 members of the public in 3 different ways, in order to give the public statistical facts about the criminal justice system (CJS), so as to increase the public's confidence in the CJS.
Abstract: The testing of the sample's knowledge of and attitudes toward the CJS before and after receipt of the booklet showed that the effective presentation of national and local crime statistics and other CJS information can have a positive impact on public confidence in the CJS. Compared to the control group, booklet recipients showed greater knowledge about crime levels by 5 percentage points as well as increase confidence in the CJS by nearly the same margin. Improvements in knowledge about the CJS were also matched by an increase in positive attitudes toward it. Regarding differences in the booklet's impact according to delivery method, the study found a statistically significant likelihood of reading all or most of the booklet was noted for a face-to-face delivery compared to mail delivery of the booklet. Also, those who received the booklet by personal delivery were significantly more likely to have an increase in their confidence in the CJS compared to those who received the booklet by mail. Although the study did not examine the duration of the booklet's positive impact, it is important for CJS policymakers and practitioners to distribute information about the CJS regularly. Focus groups of participants held after the project concluded offered suggestions for improving the booklet's content and format. Among the suggestions were to use number as well as percentages in order to increase readers' perception of objectivity; provide information on the whole CJS process rather than only certain aspects; and provide a portrayal of failures as well as successes. 6 tables, 9 notes, and 18 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Foreign criminal justice research; Foreign police/community relations; Information dissemination; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public information; Public Opinion of Corrections; Public Opinion of the Courts; Public Opinion of the Police
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