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Cross-Jurisdictional Differences in Punitive Public Attitudes?

NCJ Number
European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research Volume: 15 Issue: 1-2 Dated: 2009 Pages: 47-62
Jan W. de Keijser; Henk Elffers
Date Published
16 pages
This study from the Netherlands examined the value of comparative empirical work.
Finding show that an uninformed and uninvolved public holds highly punitive attitudes. The finding that members of the public, when given exactly the same information as judges, are closely involved with the court proceedings and deliberate amongst themselves, and thus produce the same sentences as judges is extremely important. Some apparently fundamental differences in the findings are the result of differential methodologies, but also stress the fact that findings that are contradictory at first glance may be completely reconcilable as long as they are stated in a qualified manner. Further noted is the belief that these findings serve as a caution against fixation on a single measurement approach. As with many other social phenomena, the measurement of punitiveness and public perceptions of punitiveness should preferably be a differentiated one. Data were collected from 1,083 Dutch citizens using a commercial Dutch survey bureau, and a computer assisted self administered questionnaire. Tables, figure, and references