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NCJ Number: 64555 Find in a Library
Title: CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC OPINION
Journal: CRIME AND/ET JUSTICE  Volume:6  Issue:4  Dated:(1978)  Pages:258-264
Author(s): P ROBERT
Corporate Author: University of Ottawa Press
Canada
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: University of Ottawa Press
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5, Canada
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: Canada
Annotation: THE PROBLEMS IN RESEARCHING PUBLIC ATTITUDES TOWARD THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM ARE ANALYZED, AND SOME GENERAL RESULTS OF INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH ARE PRESENTED.
Abstract: DUE TO ITS GREAT INFLUENCE ON CRIMINAL POLICY, PUBLIC CONDUCT, AND CRIME REPORTING, THE ATTITUDES OF A POPULATION TOWARDS THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM HAVE BECOME A FREQUENTLY RESEARCHED AREA. HOWEVER, THE METHODOLOGICAL DIFFICULTIES IN OBTAINING RELIABLE AND TRUTHFUL INFORMATION ARE USUALLY UNDERESTIMATED. EVEN THE PUBLIC OPINION POLL, WHICH SO FAR HAS PROVED TO BE THE MOST RELIABLE RESEARCH INSTRUMENT, DOES NOT NECESSARILY LEAD TO AN ACCURATE REFLECTION OF SENTIMENT DUE TO THE FOLLOWING METHODOLOGICAL ERRORS: (1) THE HIGHLY LEGALIZED NATURE OF THE QUESTIONS WHICH HAVE NO REAL SIGNIFICANCE TO THE INTERVIEWEE, (2) THE USE OF 'LOADED' QUESTIONS WHICH ALREADY IMPLY THE ANSWERS, AND (3) THE ATTEMPT TO REDUCE THE COMPLEX AND VARIEGATED SPECTRUM OF PUBLIC ATTITUDES TO A SINGLE PUBLIC OPINION. ALTHOUGH PUBLIC ATTITUDES VARY CONSIDERABLY FROM COUNTRY TO COUNTRY, THE FOLLOWING RESULTS HAVE REOCCURRED IN SEVERAL INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH PROJECTS. A COUNTRY'S ACTUAL LEGAL SITUATION HAS VERY LITTLE INFLUENCE ON PUBLIC OPINION SINCE THE GENERAL POPULATION HAS AT BEST MEDIOCRE LEGAL KNOWLEDGE. THE PUBLIC PROFESSES VERY DEFINITE IDEAS ON CRIME AND THE CRIMINAL; HOWEVER, THESE ATTITUDES ARE ONLY VAGUELY RELATED TO THE ACTUAL STATE OF AFFAIRS. AN INDIVIDUAL'S ATTITUDES TOWARD THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM ARE LARGELY DETERMINED BY HIS OVERALL CONCEPT OF THE WORLD AND BY GENERAL POLITICAL VIEWS. A FRENCH RESEARCH PROJECT IN FRANCE REVEALED THE FACTORS INFLUENCING THAT CONCEPT AS A PERSON'S ATTITUDES TOWARD SOCIAL CHANGE, HIS ACCEPTANCE OF SOCIETY'S NORMS, MANICHEISM, AND HIS ATTITUDES TOWARD THE STRICT ENFORCEMENT OF THE SOCIAL ORDER. THE SAME STUDY SHOWS THAT NINE-TENTHS OF PUBLIC OPINION DIFFERENCES ARE CAUSED BY INDIVIDUALS' GENERAL ATTITUDES TOWARD THE EVOLUTION AND THE STABILITY OF THE SOCIAL ORDER. NO REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. --IN FRENCH. (SAJ)
Index Term(s): Attitudes toward authority; Data collections; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Questionnaires; Research; Research methods; Socioculture
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64555

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