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Sentencing and public confidence: Results from a national Australian survey on public opinions towards sentencing


Mackenzie, G and Spiranovic, C and Warner, K and Stobbs, N and Gelb, K and Indermaur, D and Roberts, L and Broadhurst, R and Bouhours, T, Sentencing and public confidence: Results from a national Australian survey on public opinions towards sentencing, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 45, (1) pp. 45-65. ISSN 1837-9273 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 The Author(s)

DOI: doi:10.1177/0004865811431328


This paper examines the critical issue of public confidence in sentencing, and presents findings from Phase I of an Australia-wide sentencing and public confidence project. Phase I comprised a nationally representative telephone survey of 6005 participants. The majority of respondents expressed high levels of punitiveness and were dissatisfied with sentences imposed by the courts. Despite this, many were strongly supportive of the use of alternatives to imprisonment for a range of offences. These nuanced views raise questions regarding the efficacy of gauging public opinion using opinion poll style questions; indeed the expected outcome from this first phase of the four phase sentencing and public confidence project. The following phases of this project, reported on elsewhere, examined the effects of various interventions on the robustness and nature of these views initially expressed in a standard ‘top of the head’ opinion poll.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:confidence in sentencing, leniency in sentencing, public opinion, punitiveness, survey
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Law in context
Research Field:Criminal law
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Criminal justice
UTAS Author:Spiranovic, C (Dr Caroline Spiranovic)
UTAS Author:Warner, K (Professor Kate Warner)
ID Code:80680
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:31
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2012-11-07
Last Modified:2018-03-19

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