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Public Opinion and Criminal Justice: The British Crime Survey and Beyond (From Surveying Crime in the 21st Century, P 199-221, 2007, Mike Hough and Mike Maxfield, eds., -- See NCJ-220695)

NCJ Number
Mike Hough; Julian V. Roberts
Date Published
23 pages
This chapter traces the evolution and impact of attitudinal questions on the British Crime Survey (BCS).
The BCS emerges as the principal source of information about public attitudes towards crime and punishment in England and Wales. The research findings that have emerged since the mid 1990s have achieved a significant degree of international recognition as can be seen in the proliferation of analogous surveys in other jurisdictions. Findings from the BCS also have made their mark on criminal policy by prompting a number of initiatives to bolster public confidence in justice. The BCS has also given rise to a stream of scholarly publications exploring public reaction to crime and criminal justice. This chapter traces the origin, evolution, and impact of attitudinal questions on the BCS that first appeared in the 1996 administration of the BCS. After discussing the emergence of these questions on the BCS, some comparisons between findings emerge from the BCS and surveys in other jurisdictions, and a discussion of the role of BCS findings played out in the debate about crime and justice in Britain. The field of criminal justice and public opinion has evolved considerably since publication of the first monograph to include systematic research on public attitudes towards sentencing. The chapter concludes with a proposal to improve the state of knowledge with respect to this important issue in the field of criminal justice. For issues such as attitudes towards sentence severity there is now a significant historical record on which to draw. Figure, tables, notes, and references