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Public Perceptions of Punitive Penalties

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Read the following article:

St. Amand, M. D., & Zamble, E. (2001). Impact of information about sentencing decisions on public attitudes toward the criminal justice system. Law and Human Behavior, 25(5), 515-528.
Retrieve from: http://www.thecampuscommon.com

Summarize the article, including the research questions, methodology, data sources, and findings of the study. In addition, respond to the following questions:

What were the key research questions being explored in this study?
How did the researchers collect the data? How did these methods impact the findings?
What were the general findings regarding the public's perceptions of sentencing practices within the criminal justice system?
What does the article demonstrate about the limitations of survey research? What limitations do the authors acknowledge with their own study?
What does this study indicate about public perceptions of sentencing policy? What are the potential implications of these findings on the operation of the criminal justice system?

Use references and cite sources.

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Solution Preview

Hello and thank you for your question.

Please see my guidance/ ideas below. Please modify references to your specific citation style if need be.

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1) Summarize the article, including the research questions, methodology, data sources, and findings of the study. In addition, respond to the following questions:

I have summarized key points of the study in point form. You can elaborate on these further and make them into full sentences for this answer.

- As stated on page 517, "The purpose of the present research was to further examine the relationship between attitudes toward the criminal justice system and exposure to "typical" sentencing decisions"

- Two studies were conducted: mock sentencing and a public poll (you can elaborate more on the method by reading page 522)

- An initial pilot study revealed that the public was generally not satisfied with the criminal justice system, however, their perceptions of how it should be, are slightly more severe than how they currently are

- The main study conducted also suggested that participants are generally dissatisfied with the current justice system but "prescribed generally moderate sentences"

- There is an inconsistency in results of the public polls in relation to the mock sentences; this may be due to the fact that public polls can be very generalized and do not consider "the complexity of attitudes"

- Key variables such as: "Age of the offender (Cumberland & Zamble, 1992; Zamble & Kalm, 1990), perceived seriousness of the crime (Cumberland & Zamble, 1992; Hooey, 1992), criminal history of the offender (Boyle, 1995; Cumberland & Zamble, 1992; Hooey, 1992; Zamble & Kalm, 1990), and sex of the offender" have the ability to affect the "punitiveness of the sanctions deemed appropriate by members of the public."

- Most of the general poll questions given to respondents require them to combine their perceptions about crime and criminals into a single answer

- Ignorance of how exactly the criminal justice system works is another factor that results in inconsistent findings

- The solution proposed to combat this is providing education on the legal system to the public

- All in all the study reveals that the public is generally not content with current practices within the justice system however, when participating as hypothetical jury members, their opinions were more or less similar to what the current practices entail ( you can elaborate more on the results by reading page 523)

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2) What were the key research questions being explored in this study?

As stated earlier, the purpose of this study is to explore how the public's perception of the ...

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