At the heart of sentencing: Exploring whether more compassionate delivery of sentencing remarks increases public concern for people who offend

Anthony Hopkins, Shannon Dodd, Mark Nolan, Lorana Bartels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Compassion has the capacity to change how we think and feel about people who offend, enabling us to understand individual and systemic causes of criminality and whether, and in what circumstances, desistance is possible. Across two experiments, our research examined whether a more compassionate sentencing delivery, firstly, in written sentencing remarks and, secondly, in videoed sentencing remarks, stimulated more concern for sentenced offenders amongst members of the Australian public. Our results suggest that it is possible to alter the features of a written or orally-delivered sentence, so that it is recognisably more compassionate. Further, engagement with compassion-enhanced sentencing remarks altered criminal justice spending preferences, reducing the proportion of the criminal justice budget the public believed should be spent on imprisonment and increasing that to be spent on rehabilitation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2022

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