“This book should be made a part of any college level library that features holdings in social sciences. … Americans View Crime and Justice presents a national public opinion survey and its results on the issues. These edited results of a survey conducted in 1995 examine such issues as gun control, capital punishment, and juvenile crime, offering public opinion along with the analyses of a panel of criminologists.” –The Midwest Book Review Readable and carefully edited, Americans View Crime and Justice reports and analyzes results from the recent National Crime and Justice Survey (NCJS), the richest and most wide-ranging investigation of public opinion on crime and justice issues in more than a decade. Conducted in June 1995, the survey features responses from 1,000 adults in the United States on now-volatile issues such as fear of crime, gun control, capital punishment, juvenile crime, and additional related topics of national concern. A distinguished panel of criminologists analyzes the collected data in this volume to present a comprehensive report on the development and current status of public opinion on these timely issues. Divided into three sectionscontext and framework; findings; and opinion, policy, and science—this authoritative volume also analyzes the implications of the survey data. Providing interesting insights and timely quantification of Americans' view of crime and justice, this volume offers a unique view of public opinion particularly important to the work of researchers, law enforcement personnel, policy makers, public officials, and students of criminology and criminal justice, law, and political science.

Bringing the Offender to Heel: Views of the Criminal Courts

Bringing the offender to heel: Views of the criminal courts

Public Opinion and the Courts

As a social institution, the courts have received high marks on overall satisfaction from the public. However, there is dissatisfaction with parts of the system, such as with perceived penalty leniency (Flanagan, McGarrell, & Brown, 1985; Hengstler, 1993). Previous studies indicate that related social attitudes and demographics are important in explaining public perception of the courts (Fagan, 1981; Flanagan et al., 1985). Court contact, knowledge, experience, and satisfaction are all related to perception (Flanagan et al., 1985; Hengstler, 1993).

The results of such studies suggest that people may expect too much from the courts. When expectations are frustrated through court contact, the public ...

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