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NCJ Number: 99580 Find in a Library
Title: Legislator Ideology and Criminal Justice Policy - Implications from Illinois (From Politics of Crime and Criminal Justice, P 57-76, 1985, Erika S Fairchild and Vincent J Webb, eds. - See NCJ-99577)
Author(s): F T Cullen; T S Bynum; K M Garrett; J R Greene
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Although a survey of Illinois legislators' attitudes toward crime and crime controls shows the presence of both conservative and liberal views, Illinois criminal justice legislation since the mid-1970's has reflected conservative ideology, suggesting that legislative outcomes reflect more than legislators' personal views.
Abstract: In the fall of 1982, questionnaires were sent to all 236 Illinois legislators to determine their views on crime causes, policy alternatives, imprisonment goals, prison conditions, and rehabilitation. A total of 101 usable questionnaires were returned (42.8 percent response). An eight-point Likert scale was used to obtain respondents' views on 64 items. Although the legislators manifested conservatism in advocating stiff prison sentences to effect deterrence, incapacitation, and retribution, they also supported aspects of the traditional liberal agenda, including community corrections, rehabilitation, and humane prisons. Laws actually passed by the Illinois legislature since the mid-1970's, however, only reflect commitment to stiffer prison sentences. This is largely due to the strong influence of the Governor and legislators' perception that the public gives high priority to more and longer prison terms. These findings suggest that law reform is most likely to occur if advoctes focus their efforts on political elites interested in criminal justice issues, emphasize policies known to have personal ideological appeal to the legislators, and convince legislators that the public is less punitive than they perceive it to be. Tabular data and 45 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Attitudes; Illinois; Law reform; Legislation; Political influences
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