Predicting punitive attitudes to sentencing

Does the public's perceptions of crime and indigenous Australians matter?

Ruth P. Brookman, Karl Wiener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In English-speaking western cultures the punitive attitudes towards law-breakers is well documented. The present study examines the utility of predictors of punitive attitudes with online survey data obtained from a convenience sample of 566 Australian residents. After controlling for demographic variables, the study examines the utility of two theoretical models; the Crime–distrust model and the Racial–animus model, in predicting punitive attitudes. All three factors of the Crime–distrust model significantly predict punitive attitudes. The study extends the current literature through identifying the significance of negative perceptions of Indigenous Australians in predicting punitive attitudes to sentencing. Results suggest that community perception of Indigenous Australians is a significant predictor of punitive attitudes in addition to factors of the Crime–distrust model. Future research using a more representative sample of the Australian population is recommended to increase the confidence with which findings are interpreted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-76
Number of pages21
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Volume50
Issue number1
Early online dateDec 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2017

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Crime
offense
online survey
speaking
Theoretical Models
confidence
Demography
resident
Law
Population
community

Cite this

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title = "Predicting punitive attitudes to sentencing: Does the public's perceptions of crime and indigenous Australians matter?",
abstract = "In English-speaking western cultures the punitive attitudes towards law-breakers is well documented. The present study examines the utility of predictors of punitive attitudes with online survey data obtained from a convenience sample of 566 Australian residents. After controlling for demographic variables, the study examines the utility of two theoretical models; the Crime–distrust model and the Racial–animus model, in predicting punitive attitudes. All three factors of the Crime–distrust model significantly predict punitive attitudes. The study extends the current literature through identifying the significance of negative perceptions of Indigenous Australians in predicting punitive attitudes to sentencing. Results suggest that community perception of Indigenous Australians is a significant predictor of punitive attitudes in addition to factors of the Crime–distrust model. Future research using a more representative sample of the Australian population is recommended to increase the confidence with which findings are interpreted.",
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