Americans View Crime and Justice: A National Public Opinion Survey

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Edited by: Timothy J. Flanagan & Dennis R. Longmire

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
    • Preface
    • Chapter 1: Public Opinion on Crime and Justice: History, Development, and Trends
    • The Voice of the People
    • Development of Modern Opinion Polls
    • Value of Survey Data on Crime and Justice
    • Characteristics and Limitations of Public Opinion Survey Data
    • Some Concerns About Public Opinion Surveys
    • Themes and Trends in Opinions on Crime and Justice
    • Conclusion
    • Chapter 2: America's Fear of Crime
    • Issues in Measuring Fear of Crime
    • Background
    • Gender and Age
    • Race and Ethnicity
    • Socioeconomic Status
    • Victimization Experience
    • The Media
    • The Present Study
    • The Media and Fear of Crime
    • Gender and Age
    • Race and Ethnicity
    • Urbanization
    • Other Demographic Variables
    • Multivariate Analysis
    • Conclusion
    • Notes
    • Chapter 3: Support and Confidence: Public Attitudes Toward the Police
    • Favorable Attitudes Toward the Police
    • Correlates of Attitudes Toward the Police
    • Race
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Education
    • Community Type
    • Political Ideology
    • Socioeconomic Status
    • Police Contacts
    • Findings
    • Confidence and Support for Police
    • Demographic Differences in Attitudes Toward the Police
    • Crime Control
    • Promptness
    • Friendliness
    • Fairness
    • Use of Force
    • Effects of Police Contacts on Attitudes Toward the Police
    • Findings for the Police Contact Cases
    • Discussion and Conclusion
    • Notes
    • Chapter 4: Bringing the Offender to Heel: Views of the Criminal Courts
    • Public Opinion and the Courts
    • Equality and Fairness of the Courts
    • Political Considerations Influencing Court Decisions
    • Treatment of Rich and Poor
    • Treatment of Minorities
    • Disregard of Defendants’ Rights
    • Protection of Society
    • Bail for Those Previously Convicted
    • Courts That Do Not Reduce Crime
    • Harshness of Courts
    • Plea Bargaining
    • Disregard of Crime Victims’ Interests
    • Quality and Performance
    • Speedy Trial
    • Expensive Lawyers and Expensive Courts
    • Analysis
    • General Dissatisfaction With Courts
    • Equality and Fairness of the Courts
    • Protection of Society
    • Quality and Performance
    • Satisfaction Scales
    • Discussion
    • The Public's View About Courts and Justice
    • Policy Implications and Future Research
    • Notes
    • Chapter 5: Just and Painful: Attitudes Toward Sentencing Criminals
    • Past Research on Attitudes Toward Sentencing Criminals
    • Adults as Offenders
    • Juveniles as Offenders
    • Findings
    • Demographic Differences
    • Discussion
    • Conclusion
    • Chapter 6: Reform or Punish: Americans' Views of the Correctional System
    • Confidence and Support for Correctional Rehabilitation
    • The Purpose of Prisons
    • Support for Prison Programs
    • Alternatives to Prison and Solutions to Prison Crowding
    • Conclusion
    • Chapter 7: Americans' Attitudes About the Ultimate Weapon: Capital Punishment
    • Overview
    • Death Penalty Attitudes and Race/Ethnicity
    • Death Penalty Attitudes and Religious Belief Systems
    • Death Penalty Attitudes and Sociopolitical Ideologies
    • Criminal Justice-Related Experiences and Attitudes
    • Question Wording and Death Penalty Research
    • National Opinion Survey on Crime and Justice—1995
    • Historical Trends in Death Penalty Support
    • Constancy of Death Penalty Attitudes
    • Original Opposers
    • Original Supporters
    • Original Neutrals
    • Attitudinal Inconstants
    • Attitudinally Firm
    • Summary and Conclusions
    • Chapter 8: Guns and Gun Control
    • Gun Ownership
    • Gun Control Measures
    • Guns and Self-Defense
    • Liability
    • Activism on Gun Issues
    • Gun Ownership and Views on Gun Issues
    • Fear of Crime, Confidence in Police, and Opinions on Gun Issues
    • Summary
    • Chapter 9: The Modern Plague: Controlling Substance Abuse
    • Overview of Previous Opinion Polls
    • Marijuana Legalization Debate
    • Strategies to Reduce the Use of Illicit Drugs
    • Effectiveness of the War on Drugs
    • Survey Results
    • Conclusion
    • Note
    • Chapter 10: The Growing Threat: Gangs and Juvenile Offenders
    • Public Opinion and Juvenile Justice
    • The National Opinion Survey on Crime and Justice—1995
    • Public Support for the Juvenile Justice System
    • Policies for Discouraging Youth Gangs
    • Discussion and Conclusion
    • Chapter 11: Public Opinion and Public Policy in Criminal Justice
    • Who's Leading, Who's Following?
    • The Role of the Media
    • Popular Justice
    • Chapter 12: The Art and Science of Survey Research
    • Survey Environment
    • Changing Technology of Surveys
    • Sampling
    • Measurement
    • Implications for Survey Research
    • Chapter 13: The National Opinion Survey on Crime and Justice—1995: Development and Methods
    • Instrument Design
    • The Sample
    • Random-Digit Dialing
    • The Survey
    • Weights
    • Description of Respondents
    • The Data
    • Appendix: Survey Questionnaire: National Opinion Survey on Crime and Justice—1995
    • References
    • About the Editors
    • About the Contributors
  • Copyright

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    Preface

    Virtually everyone who studies the scholarship on public attitudes about crime and criminal justice develops a keen sense of the shortcomings of that knowledge base. These limitations are the product of at least two independent forces. First, the opinion survey “business” in the United States is fueled primarily by the interests (and dollars) of the business and political sectors. The largest single component of the survey research industry in the United States is the market research sector. Perhaps the fastest growing segment of the industry is political polling, as candidates ranging from presidential contenders to local school board aspirants rush to tailor their message to the presumed interests of the electorate. It is not surprising that the subjects of these client-driven surveys often do not include crime and justice issues in any meaningful way.

    Second, criminologists themselves have given insufficient attention to public opinion as a critical element of the study of crime and justice. Too often the views of the public are dismissed as uninformed, mercurial, and reactionary. Crime scholars, program developers, and justice agency administrators are only beginning to appreciate the relevance and importance of public attitudes, beliefs, and opinions in discussions of crime control policy. The President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (1967) understood the relationship of public opinion and public policy more than a quarter century ago. The commission concluded that “what America does about crime depends ultimately upon how Americans see crime” (p. 49). We undertook this project in the hope of providing a clearer picture of “how Americans see crime” and criminal justice.

    This book originated in our individual work on public opinion about crime and justice issues. Dennis Longmire has directed the Survey Research Center in the College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University for many years. Since 1977, the Survey Research Center has conducted the Texas Crime Poll, an annual statewide survey of citizen attitudes toward criminal justice policies and agencies, fear of crime, victimization experience, and related topics. Timothy Flanagan participated in the development of the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics for more than 17 years and focused on Section 2 of that volume, “Public Attitudes Toward Crime and Criminal Justice-Related Topics” for most of that period. The occasion to join these separate experiences with the chance to design, conduct, and analyze a national survey was a real opportunity. The National Opinion Survey on Crime and Justice—1995 (NOSCJ) enabled us to capitalize on our previous work and indulge ourselves in asking questions that we have always wanted to ask.

    From its inception, the NOSCJ was a collaborative effort. Barbara Sims and Vincent West, doctoral students in the College of Criminal Justice and staff members of the Survey Research Center, contributed to the development of the NOSCJ questionnaire and helped select the survey contractor. The staff of the Public Policy Research Institute (PPRI) at Texas A&M University were professional and constructive partners in finalizing the survey questionnaire and collecting the data. We are especially grateful to James Dyer, Clay Hanks, and Rickie Fletcher of PPRI for their vast experience and expertise in survey methods. We appreciate the help of Doris Ulrich, Rosa Coss, Jim Sessions, and David Epps of Sam Houston State University.

    Of course, we owe our largest debt to the colleagues who agreed to analyze the NOSCJ data and contribute chapters to this volume. These scholars, most of whom are associated in some way with the College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University, signed on when the NOSCJ was in the “idea” stage, and they devoted many hours to the project. Most of them wish they had twice as many questions in the final questionnaire, twice as many pages allotted to their chapters, and half as many revisions and suggestions from the editors. The halls of the Criminal Justice Center have been enlivened in recent months with animated discussions about the project, analytic methods, and findings. The volume benefited tremendously from the collegial discussion of draft materials held at a daylong authors’ conference in late September, 1995. We each left the conference with a long list of suggestions and comments that improved the final product.

    Finally, we deeply appreciate the financial support of this and other projects at the Criminal Justice Center by the Legislature of the State of Texas. Additional financial support for the NOSCJ was provided by the Houston Endowment Inc., a long-term supporter of the academic and professional education programs of the Criminal Justice Center.

    Points of view or opinions expressed in this volume are the contributors’ and do not represent the official policy or positions of the state of Texas or of the Houston Endowment, Inc. We have shared the findings of the NOSCJ and a companion survey of Texas citizens with criminal justice administrators and policymakers in several forums and have integrated the project into the center's continuing professional education programs. We hope that presentation and discussion of the findings assist decision makers in understanding the public perspective on the important criminal justice issues and decisions that face Texas and the nation.

    We also hope that our work generates more interest in survey research on citizen perspectives on crime and justice concerns. In our view, discussions of alternative crime control policies and programs would benefit from periodic close listening to the views of Americans. We need more frequent, comprehensive, and nonpartisan assessments of public opinion on this critical domestic policy issue. Scholars who bemoan the direction and philosophy of recent crime control efforts often assume, as do political leaders, that these initiatives and statutes are responsive to what the public “wants,” or even “demands.” Too often, these assumptions are made without serious consideration of the range and diversity of public opinion on crime and criminal justice. We hope that Americans View Crime and Justice contributes to a better understanding of public sentiment on these issues and to a fuller discussion of the policy options available to address the challenge of crime in the years ahead.

    TimothyJ.Flanagan
    DennisR.Longmire
  • Appendix: Survey Questionnaire National Opinion Survey on Crime and Justice—1995

    Hello, this is__________________calling from the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University. We are conducting a nationwide survey of people's opinions about crime and justice in America. May I speak with the man or lady of the household who is 18 years of age or older who had the most recent birthday?

    (if under 18 then terminate)

    • M1 First of all. I would like to get your opinions about issues dealing with crime and justice In America. Concerning media coverage of crime, how much attention does the local media in your community give to violent crime? Would you say it is: too much, too little or about right?
      • Too much
      • About right
      • Too little
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • M2 Do you get most of your news about crime from television, newspapers, radio, co-workers or friends and neighbors?
      • Television
      • Newspapers
      • Radio
      • Co-workers
      • Friends and neighbors
      • Other. Specify_____________________
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • M3 Are you a regular viewer of television programs that deal with crime or criminal justice issues, such as COPS, Real Stories of the Highway Patrol. Justice Files or America's Most Wanted?
      • Yes
      • No
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • M4 Approximately how many hours do you watch television per week? (record exact response)
      • _______________________
      • 888 Don't know
      • 999 Refused
      • Changing topics, I would like to ask you about various aspects of your neighborhood. For each of the following would you say it is a serious problem, somewhat of a problem, a minor problem or not a problem at all?
    • N1 Trash and litter lying around
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • A minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • N2 Neighborhood dogs running loose
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • A minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • N3 Graffiti on sidewalks and walls
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • A minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • N4 Vacant houses and unkempt lots
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • A minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • N5 Unsupervised youth
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • A minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • N6 Too much noise
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • A minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • N7 People drunk or high on drugs in public
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • A minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • N8 Abandoned cars or car parts lying around
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • A minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • N9 In the past year do you feel that the crime rate in your neighborhood has increased, decreased or stayed the same?
      • Increased
      • Stayed the same
      • Decreased
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • N10 In the past year do you feel safer, not as safe or about the same on the streets in your neighborhood?
      • Safer
      • Not as safe
      • About the same
      • Don't know
      • Refused
      • Next, I want to ask you how much you worry about each of the following situations. Do you worry very frequently, somewhat frequently, seldom or about:
    • W1 Yourself or someone in your family getting sexually assaulted
      • Very frequently
      • Somewhat frequently
      • Seldom
      • Never
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • W2 Being attacked while driving your car
      • Very frequently
      • Somewhat frequently
      • Seldom
      • Never
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • W3 Getting mugged
      • Very frequently
      • Somewhat frequently
      • Seldom
      • Never
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • W4 Getting beaten up, knifed or shot
      • Very frequently
      • Somewhat frequently
      • Seldom
      • Never
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • W5 Getting murdered
      • Very frequently
      • Somewhat frequently
      • Seldom
      • Never
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • W6 Your home being burglarized while someone is at home
      • Very frequently
      • Somewhat frequently
      • Seldom
      • Never
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • W7 Your home being burglarized while no one is at home
      • Very frequently
      • Somewhat frequently
      • Seldom
      • Never
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • P1 Changing topics. I would like to ask you about the police in your community. How much confidence do you have in the ability of the police to protect you from crime? Would you say: a great deal, some, little or none at all?
      • A great deal
      • Some
      • Little
      • None at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • P2 What about the ability of the police to solve crime?
      • A great deal
      • Some
      • Little
      • None at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • P3 What about the ability of the police to prevent crime?
      • A great deal
      • Some
      • Little
      • None at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • P4 Please rate the police in your community on the following aspects, such as responding quickly to calls for help. Would you rate the police very high, high, average, low or very low?
      • Very high
      • High
      • Average
      • Low
      • Very low
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • P5 What about the friendliness of the police?
      • Very high
      • High
      • Average
      • Low
      • Very low
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • P6 How would you rate the fairness of the police in dealing with people?
      • Very high
      • High
      • Average
      • Low
      • Very low
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • P7 In some places in the nation there have been charges of excessive use of force by the police. In your community would you say this is a serious problem, somewhat of a problem, a minor problem or not a problem at all?
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • Minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • P8 Have you had any contact with the police during the past two years?
      • Yes
      • No (SKIP TO C1)
      • Don't know (SKIP TO C1)
      • Refused (SKIP TO C1)
    • P9 Would you say you were very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied?
      • Very satisfied
      • Somewhat satisfied
      • Neither
      • Somewhat dissatisfied
      • Very dissatisfied
      • Don't know
      • Refused

    Moving to another topic. I would like to ask your opinions on the courts in your community. Do you think each of the following items are a serious problem, somewhat of a problem, a minor problem or not a problem at all in your community?

    • C1 Court decisions that are influenced by political considerations
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • Minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C2 Courts that do not treat the poor as well as they treat the rich
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • Minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C3 Courts that do not treat minorities as well as they treat whites
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • Minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C4 Courts that disregard defendants’ rights
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • Minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C5 Courts that disregard the interests of crime victims
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • Minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C6 Courts in which six months pass from arrest to trial
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • Minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C7 Lawyers who are too expensive
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • Minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C8 Courts that are too expensive for the people who must use them
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • Minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C9 Courts that grant bail to persons previously convicted of crime
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • Minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C10 Courts that do not help decrease the amount of crime
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • Minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C11 Thinking now about the court cases you have personally followed, do they usually come out the way you think they should or not?
      • Yes they do
      • No they don't
      • Not applicable
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C12 In general, do you think courts in this area deal too harshly, not harshly enough or about right with criminals?
      • Too harshly
      • About right
      • Not harshly enough
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C13 Thinking now about drunk drivers, does the criminal justice system deal too harshly, not harshly enough or about right with drunk drivers?
      • Too harshly
      • Not harshly enough
      • About right
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C14 In your opinion what is the most appropriate sentence for a person convicted more than once for drunk driving? (read choices 1–5)
      • License revoked
      • A $ 1,000 fine
      • Community service sentence
      • One year in jail
      • A prison term of more than one year
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • C15 Persons accused of crimes often enter into negotiations with the prosecutor and judge and agree to plead guilty if the charges against them are reduced. Do you favor or oppose this process, referred to as “plea bargaining”?
      • Favor
      • Oppose
      • Neither favor nor oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused

    Next, people have said there are four purposes of criminal penalties. These are:

    • To discourage others from committing crimes.
    • To separate offenders from society.
    • To train, educate and counsel offenders.
    • To give offenders the punishment they deserve.
    • A1 Please tell me which of these four purposes do you think should be the most important in sentencing adults? (may need to repeat the four purposes)
      • To discourage others from committing crimes
      • To separate offenders from society
      • To train, educate and counsel offenders
      • To give offenders the punishment they deserve
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • A2 Which of these four purposes do you think should be the most important in sentencing juveniles?
      • To discourage others from committing crimes
      • To separate offenders from society
      • To train, educate and counsel offenders
      • To give offenders the punishment they deserve
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • A3 In recent years, some legislatures have made imprisonment mandatory for convictions for some types of crimes. Do you think these mandatory sentences are a good idea, or should judges be able to decide who goes to prison and who doesn't?
      • Mandatory sentences are a good idea
      • Judges should be able to decide
      • Both
      • Neither
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • A4 To lower the crime rate in the United States should money be spent on social and economic problems or on police, prisons and judges? Which comes closer to your view?
      • Spend money on social and economic problems
      • Spend money on police, prisons and judges
      • Both
      • Neither
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • A5 In your opinion where does government need to make a greater effort these days: rehabilitate criminals who commit violent crimes or punish and put away criminals who commit violent crimes?
      • Rehabilitate criminals
      • Punish criminals
      • Both
      • Neither
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • R1 Thinking of criminals who commit violent crimes do you think most, some, only a few. or none of them can be rehabilitated given early intervention with the right program?
      • Most
      • Some
      • Only a few
      • None of them
      • Don't know
      • Refused
      • Next, please tell me whether you think each of the following proposals are good ideas or bad ideas.
    • R2 How about: Require prisoners to have a skill or to learn a trade to fit them for a job before they are released from prison.
      • Good idea
      • Bad idea
      • Neither good nor bad
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • R3 Require every prisoner to be able to read and write before he or she Is released from prison.
      • Good idea
      • Bad idea
      • Neither good nor bad
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • R4 Keep prisoners busy constructing buildings, making products or performing services that the state would have to hire other people to do.
      • Good idea
      • Bad idea
      • Neither good nor bad
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • R5 Pay prisoners for their work, but require them to return two-thirds of this amount to their victims or to the state for the cost of maintaining the prison.
      • Good idea
      • Bad idea
      • Neither good nor bad
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • R6 In some nations and in some states in the United States, in order to keep families together, spouses are permitted to spend some weekends each year with their husband or wife in special guest houses within the prison grounds.
      • Good idea
      • Bad idea
      • Neither good nor bad
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • R7 Refuse parole to any prisoner who has been paroled before for a serious crime.
      • Good idea
      • Bad idea
      • Neither good nor bad
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • R8 Appoint more judges in order to reduce the time between arrest and trial to maximum of two months.
      • Good idea
      • Bad idea
      • Neither good nor bad
      • Don't know
      • Refused
      • Would you favor or oppose each of the following measures that have been suggested as ways to reduce prison overcrowding?
    • R9 How about: Shortening sentences?
      • Favor
      • Oppose
      • Neither favor nor oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • R10 Allowing prisoners to earn early release through good behavior and participation in educational and work programs?
      • Favor
      • Oppose
      • Neither favor nor oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • R11 Developing local programs to keep more nonviolent and first-time offenders active and working in the community?
      • Favor
      • Oppose
      • Neither favor nor oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • R12 Giving the parole board more authority to release offenders early?
      • Favor
      • Oppose
      • Neither favor nor oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • R13 Increasing taxes to build more prisons?
      • Favor
      • Oppose
      • Neither favor nor oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • CP1 In moving on to another topic, do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?
      • Favor
      • Oppose
      • Neither favor nor oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
      • I am going to read a list of items that affect some people's attitudes towards the death penalty. For each item please tell me if you would be more likely to favor the death penalty, more likely to oppose the death penalty or wouldn't matter. For example, if it is true that:
    • CP2 The death penalty is not a deterrent to murder.
      • More likely to favor
      • Wouldn't matter
      • More likely to oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • CP3 If it is true that: members of minority groups are more likely than others to receive the death penalty for the same crimes.
      • More likely to favor
      • Wouldn't matter
      • More likely to oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • CP4 If it is true that: some people who have been executed were actually innocent.
      • More likely to favor
      • Wouldn't matter
      • More likely to oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • CP5 If it is true that: poor people are more likely than others to receive the death penalty for the same crimes.
      • More likely to favor
      • Wouldn't matter
      • More likely to oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • CP6 If it is true that: a life sentence, without any possibility of parole, was available.
      • More likely to favor
      • Wouldn't matter
      • More likely to oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • CP7 If it is true that: keeping murderers in prison for life would cost less than the death penalty.
      • More likely to favor
      • Wouldn't matter
      • More likely to oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • CP8 If it is true that: the murderer is a teenager under the age of 18.
      • More likely to favor
      • Wouldn't matter
      • More likely to oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • CP9 If it is true that: the murderer is severely mentally retarded.
      • More likely to favor
      • Wouldn't matter
      • More likely to oppose
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • G1 In general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?
      • More strict
      • Less strict
      • Kept as they are now
      • Don't know
      • Refused
      • Please tell me for each of the following statements whether you strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree or strongly disagree.
    • G2 Armed citizens are the best defense against criminals.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • G3 Armed citizens are the best defense against government abuse of power.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • G4 Parents should be charged with a crime if their children injure themselves or others with a gun kept in their household.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • G5 It should be easier for law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • G6 Companies that manufacture guns with no hunting or sporting purpose should be held financially responsible when these guns injure or kill people.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • G7 In the last 5 years have you ever been a member of or contributed money to any organization, or contacted an elected official, or done anything else to express your views about gun control?
      • Yes
      • No
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • S1 Changing topics, there has been a great deal of public debate about whether marijuana use should be legal. Which one of the following policies would you favor? (read choices 1–4)
      • Using marijuana should be entirely legal
      • It should be available by prescription for medical purposes
      • It should be a minor violation like a parking ticket, but not a crime
      • It should be a crime
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • S2 If it were legal for people to use marijuana, should it also be legal to sell marijuana?
      • Yes
      • No
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • S3 Which of the following do you think will do more to reduce the use of illegal drugs: punishing drug users or putting them into drug treatment programs?
      • Punishing drug users
      • Putting them into drug treatment programs
      • Both
      • Neither
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • S4 Which of the following approaches to dealing with drug use in American society do you think would be most effective? (read choices 1–4)
      • Military control to stop the shipping of drugs across American borders
      • Police efforts to get drugs off American streets
      • Educational programs to reduce the number of drug users in society
      • Drug treatment programs to reduce the number of drug users in society
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • S5 Which approach do you think would be least effective? (read if necessary)
      • Military control to stop the shipping of drugs across American borders
      • Police efforts to get drugs off American streets
      • Educational programs to reduce the number of drug users in society
      • Drug treatment programs to reduce the number of drug users in society
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • S6 From what you can tell in your community, has the government's most recent war on drugs: (read choices 1–3)
      • Reduced the amount of drug use
      • Increased the amount of drug use
      • Had no effect on the amount of drug use
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • S7 Would you support legislation that prohibited the depiction of the use of marijuana or other illicit drugs in the movies, television or music videos?
      • Yes
      • No
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • GA1 Next, how serious a problem are gangs in your community? Would you say they are: a serious problem, somewhat of a problem, a minor problem, or not a problem at all?
      • Serious problem
      • Somewhat of a problem
      • A minor problem
      • Not a problem at all
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • GA2 in your opinion what is the main reason why young people in your community join gangs? (do not read, select only one)
      • For protection
      • As a substitute for family
      • It's part of their culture
      • A lack of adult supervision
      • A lack of employment opportunities for young people
      • To commit crimes for the purpose of obtaining material goods
      • Other, specify_________________________
      • Don't know
      • Refused
      • Please tell me for each of the following statements whether you strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree or strongly disagree.
    • GA3 A juvenile charged with a serious property crime should be tried as an adult.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • GA4 A juvenile charged with selling illegal drugs should be tried as an adult.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • GA5 A juvenile charged with a serious violent crime should be tried as an adult.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
      • People have suggested a variety of measures that could be used to discourage youth gangs. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree or strongly disagree with each of the following.
    • GA6 To discourage youth gangs there should be stiffer sentences for juvenile offenders.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • GA7 To discourage youth gangs schools should improve security measures.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • GA8 To discourage youth gangs government should increase aid to youth centers.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • GA9 To discourage youth gangs there should be more employment opportunities for youth.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • GA10 To discourage youth gangs parents should be held legally responsible for their children's actions.
      • Strongly agree
      • Agree
      • Neither agree nor disagree
      • Disagree
      • Strongly disagree
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • GA11 In most places, there are juvenile justice programs that emphasize protecting and rehabilitating juveniles rather than punishing them. Do you think these programs have been given the necessary money and other support to be successful?
      • Yes
      • No
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • GA12 Would you say these programs have been very successful, somewhat successful, not very successful or not at all successful at controlling juvenile crime?
      • Very successful
      • Somewhat successful
      • Not very successful
      • Not at all successful
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • D1 Finally. I would like to ask you some questions about yourself. What is your current age? (record exact number)
      • _________________
      • 98 Don't know
      • 99 Refused
    • D2 Which of the following best describes your racial or ethnic group? (read list)
      • White
      • Hispanic
      • African-American
      • Other, specify_______________
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • D3 What was the last grade of school you completed? (do not read)
      • Grade 0–4
      • Grade 5–8
      • Grade 9–11. some high school
      • Grade 12. high school graduate
      • Grade 13–15, some college, business or trade school
      • Grade 16, college graduate
      • Graduate work
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • D4 Are you currently married, widowed, divorced, separated or have you never been married?
      • Married
      • Widowed
      • Divorced
      • Separated
      • Never married
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • D5 What is your zip code? (record exact numbers)
      • 99999 Don't know/refused
    • D6 Generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as a Republican. Democrat, Independent or other?
      • Republican
      • Democrat
      • Independent
      • Other, specify
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • D7 Overall, do you consider yourself liberal, middle of the road or conservative?
      • Liberal
      • Middle of the road
      • Conservative
      • None
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • D8 Which term best describes the community in which you live. Is it rural, a small town, a small city, a suburb or an urban area?
      • Rural
      • Small town
      • Small city
      • Suburb
      • Urban
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • D9 Which of the following best describes your current religious preferences: Protestant, Catholic. Jewish or something else?
      • Protestant
      • Catholic (SKIP TO D11)
      • Jewish (SKIP TO D11)
      • Other, specify_______________ (SKIP TO D11)
      • None (SKIP TO D11)
      • Don't know (SKIP TO D11)
      • Refused (SKIP TO D11)
    • D10 Which denomination? (record exact response)
      • __________________
    • D11 Do you or anyone else in the household own any guns?
      • Yes
      • No (SKIP TO D13)
      • Don't know (SKIP TO D13)
      • Refused (SKIP TO D13)
    • D12 Is the main reason for the gun sport or protection against crime?
      • Sport
      • Protection against crime
      • Both
      • Neither
      • Don't know
      • Refused
    • D13 How many people live in your household? (record exact number)
      • 88 Don't know
      • 99 Refused
    • D14 How many different telephone numbers are there in your household? (record exact number)
      • 1 Only one number for household
      • 8 Don't know
      • 9 Refused
    • D15 Please tell me your annual household income? (read list and record only one response)
      • Less than $ 15.000
      • Between $ 15.000 and $ 30.000
      • Between $ 30.000 and $ 60,000
      • Over $ 60.000
      • Don't know
      • Refused
      • That completes the survey. Thank you for your cooperation!
    • D16 Record the sex of the respondent (do not read)
      • Male
      • Female

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    About the Editors

    Timothy J. Flanagan, Ph.D., is Professor of Criminal Justice and Dean of the College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University, where he is also Director of the university's Criminal Justice Center. Flanagan directed the project that produced the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1977 to 1991 and has published scores of journal articles, reviews, edited books, and research reports. His research focuses on the effectiveness of correctional programs, criminal justice statistics, public opinion on justice issues, and criminal justice higher education. His most recent work, Long-Term Imprisonment: Issues of Science, Policy and Correctional Practice, was published by Sage Publications in April 1995.

    Dennis R. Longmire is Professor of Criminal Justice and Director of the Survey Research Program at Sam Houston State University's College of Criminal Justice. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland's Institute of Criminal Justice and Criminology in 1979. His current research interests include public attitude studies about crime, criminals and the administration of justice, and the use of popular literature in criminal justice education.

    About the Contributors

    Kenneth Adams is Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University. He received his Ph.D. in criminal justice from the State University of New York at Albany. He currently is directing an NIJ-sponsored evaluation of gun purchase background checks in Florida.

    Myrna Cintrón is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University. She received her Ph.D. in criminology from Florida State University in 1991. Her primary research interests include the abuse and control of drugs and ethnic issues in criminal justice.

    James A. Dyer is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Senior Study Director in the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has conducted numerous surveys on criminal justice, health, race relations, substance abuse, and other social issues and is the coauthor of An Introduction to Political Science Methods.

    Simone Engelhardt-Greer is pursuing her M.A. degree in criminal justice at Sam Houston State University. She received her B.S. degree in criminal justice and criminology from East Tennessee State University in 1994. Her areas of interest include research, theory, juvenile delinquency, victimology, and crime prevention.

    Jurg Gerber is Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor, College of Criminal Justice, Sam Houston State University. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from Washington State University in 1988. His primary research interests involve corporate crime, drugs, and drug control policy. Recent publications have appeared in Social Justice and the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation.

    Bahram Haghighi is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas-Pan American. He received his Ph.D. in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University in 1985. His research interests include parole release, correctional industries, and victimology.

    W. S. Wilson Huang is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Georgia State University. He received his Ph.D. in criminal justice and criminology in 1990 from the University of Maryland, College Park. His research interests include international crime statistics, inequality and violence, and computer mapping.

    W. Wesley Johnson is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University. He received his Ph.D. from Florida State University in 1992. His research interests include substance abuse and control, corrections, and social control.

    Laura B. Myers is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University. She received her Ph.D. in criminology from Florida State University in 1990. Her research areas include criminal justice ethics, criminal justice education, cultural diversity, and criminal courts. Recent publications include an article on sentencing disparity and county context in the Journal of Criminal Justice and an article on computer use in criminal justice academic programs in the Journal of Criminal Justice Education.

    Barbara Sims is a doctoral student in criminal justice at Sam Houston State University, where she serves as Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Center's Survey Research Program. Her research and teaching interests include public opinion research on crime and criminal justice, the development and evaluation of criminological theory, issues of punishment in the American criminal justice system, and the relationship of race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status to crime.

    Jon Sorensen is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas-Pan American. He received his Ph.D. in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University in 1990. His research interests include capital punishment and homicide.

    Ruth Triplett is Assistant Professor at Sam Houston State University. She received her Ph.D. in criminology from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1990. Her research interests include labeling theory, symbolic interaction, and gender in criminological theory.

    Michael S. Vaughn is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Georgia State University. He received his Ph.D. in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University in 1993. His research interests include legal issues in criminal justice and cross-cultural crime.

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