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Criminal Punishment in Islamic Societies: Empirical Study of Attitudes to Criminal Sentencing in Iran

NCJ Number
European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research Volume: 15 Issue: 1-2 Dated: 2009 Pages: 159-180
Ghassem Ghassemi
Date Published
22 pages
This study explored the attitudes of elites in Iran who are most influential in the formation of penal policy and criminal punishment practices.
Results show that most of the respondents hold relatively similar views to the surveyed items in spite of the age and professional differences. This may be the result of sacred representation of penal policies and options in Iran. Women were less supportive of corporal punishments than men. Among professional groups the most striking difference was between police officers and judges who supported the Shari’a penal option significantly more so than other professional groups. Finally, prisons are not considered legitimate in Iran, but are viewed more as an academy of crime and criminal activity. The majority of the respondents, in spite of the significant difference between men and women, believe that Islam has the best rules for combating crimes. In the views of the respondents, Islam is something more than a religion; it must regulate the spiritual relationship between individuals and God. Islam, as a formal ideology of the state in Iran, is utilized as the legitimate base of public policymaking. Data were collected from 850 respondents. Tables, figures, and references