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NCJ Number: 94266 Find in a Library
Title: Perceptions of the Criminal Justice System in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Journal: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology  Volume:17  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1984)  Pages:20-32
Author(s): M E O'Connor
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 13
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This study analyzes 365 respondents' perceptions of the police, courts, and corrections in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
Abstract: The respondents included justices of the peace (n=18), councillors on the town council (n=12), lawyers and personnel of the departments of corrections and community welfare (n=24), members of community service clubs (n=95), high school teachers (n=28), the professions (n=7), media personnel (n=16), and students attending the last 2 years of high school (n=145). The response rate was about 90 percent. The sample was nonrandom, and simple correlation analysis was applied to the data. The questionnaire was designed to facilitate comparative analysis with other Australian material (e.g., Chappell and Wilson, 1969; Wilson and Brown, 1973). The findings showed the police were held in high respect, although perceived to be engaged in misconduct, while the courts were believed to be discriminatory but not harsh enough with offenders. Respondents perceived the aim of the prison system to be both the treatment and the punishment of offenders. Respondents further favored granting some rights to prisoners not currently available, although the prison system was considered to be too lenient. The findings suggest that rather than the respondents' being ambivalent, the variables considered by respondents change with the generality of the question asked. It is apparent that the analysis of a community's perception of the criminal justice system requires a more indepth approach than that provided by public opinion research methods. Tabular data, notes, and references are provided.
Index Term(s): Australia; Public Opinion of Corrections; Public Opinion of the Courts; Public Opinion of the Police
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