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Public opinion towards the lay magistracy and the sentencing council guidelines: the effects of information on attitudes

Roberts, Julian, Hough, Mike, Jackson, Jonathan and Gerber, Monica M. (2012) Public opinion towards the lay magistracy and the sentencing council guidelines: the effects of information on attitudes. British Journal of Criminology, 52 (6). pp. 1072-1091. ISSN 0007-0955

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Abstract

Public opinion surveys have long documented public criticism of ‘lenient’ sentencers. There are two principal perceptions contributing to negative attitudes: a lack of community input and the view that sentencers determine sentence according to their own views. This study embeds an experimental design within a representative survey of respondents in England and Wales (n = 1,004), supplemented by laboratory-based work (n = 230) and focus groups. Results demonstrated that the public is ill-informed about both the magistracy and the sentencing guidelines. In addition, providing information about sentencing changed public attitudes to sentencing and reduced public punitiveness. Respondents were less critical of disposals and less punitive in their own sentence recommendations when they had been given context about the structure of sentencing.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/
Additional Information: © 2012 The Authors
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
K Law > KD England and Wales
Sets: Departments > Methodology
Research centres and groups > Mannheim Centre for Criminology
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2012 14:55
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/44443/

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