To punish or to rehabilitate: Sentencing goals as mediators between values, axioms and punitiveness towards offenders.

Grace Dzing Man Lau, Graham Tyson, Michael Harris Bond

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Abstract

The present study explored the structure of sentencing goals in Hong Kong, relating the endorsement of these sentencing goals to punitiveness, values, and social axioms. Two dimensions of sentencing goals, Punishment and Rehabilitation, were identified. Both dimensions significantly explained punitiveness towards offenders. The psychological basis of sentencing goals was traced by testing a model that relates the two dimensions of sentencing goals and of their consequent punitiveness to values and social axioms. Results indicated that the two sentencing goals were associated with certain dimensions of values and axioms, enabling us to establish a model with sentencing goals as mediators between values, axioms and punitiveness. This model extended current research on sentencing goals and can be applied in the legal context to evaluate the court's penal practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-84
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Psychology in Chinese Societies
Volume10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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