Penal Populism and Public Opinion: Lessons from Five Countries

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Oxford University Press, Dec 5, 2002 - Social Science - 264 pages
Although criminal justice systems vary greatly around the world, one theme has emerged in all western jurisdictions in recent years: a rise in both the rhetoric and practice of severe punishment at a time when public opinion has played a pivotal role in sentencing policy and reforms. Despite the differences among jurisdictions, startling commonalities exist among the five countries-the U.K., USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand--surveyed here. Drawing on the results of representative opinion surveys and other research tools the authors map public attitudes towards crime and punishment across countries and explore the congruence between public views and actual policies. Co-authored by four distinguished sentencing policy experts, Penal Populism and Public Opinion is a clarion call for limiting the influence of penal populism and instituting more informed, research- based sentencing policies across the western world.
 

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Contents

Penal Populism in Context
3
Public Opinion about Crime and Punishment
21
Recent Penal Policy Developments
35
Explaining the Rise of Punitive Penal Policies
61
The Influence of the Media
76
Public Judgment in Real Criminal Cases
93
Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice
107
Sex Offenders and Sexual Predators
129
The War on Drugs
143
Responding to Penal Populism
160
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About the author (2002)

Julian V. Roberts is Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. Loretta Stalans is Professor of Psychology at Loyola University, Chicago. David Indermaur is a Professor at the Law School of the University of Western Australia. Mike Hough is a Professor in the Department of Social Policy at South Bank University, London.

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