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Attitudes Regarding the Compassionate Release of Terminally Ill Offenders

NCJ Number
The Prison Journal Volume: 87 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2007 Pages: 408-415
Jennifer L. Boothby; Lorraine Y. Overduin
Date Published
December 2007
8 pages
This study examined college students’ attitudes toward the compassionate release of terminally ill offenders and general attitudes toward prisoners and fear of AIDS.
Results suggest that undergraduate students have an overall negative attitude toward compassionate release of offenders. Specifically, students reported only marginal agreement that dying prisoners should be treated with compassion and agreed with statements that community members should be notified if an offender is released to die at home. Also, students were neutral about the provision of medical care to prisoners that is comparable to treatment available to individuals in the community suggesting a lack of support for equal treatment for medically ill prisoners. Fear of AIDS, however, was not associated with negative attitudes toward compassionate release of offenders. The results suggest that undergraduate students have a negative attitude toward both compassionate release of prisoners and prisoners in general. Compassionate release, or medical parole, allows the early release of terminally ill offenders so that they may spend time with loved ones. Such programs have received little attention from researchers. This study examined attitudes of undergraduate students toward compassionate release and factors that affected these attitudes. A total of 163 participants completed questionnaires regarding attitudes toward compassionate release, attitudes toward prisoners, and fear of AIDS. Tables, references


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