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Public preferences for sentencing purposes: What difference does offender age, criminal history and offence type make?


Spiranovic, CA and Roberts, LD and Indermaur, D and Warner, K and Gelb, K and Mackenzie, G, Public preferences for sentencing purposes: What difference does offender age, criminal history and offence type make?, Criminology and Criminal Justice, 12, (3) pp. 289-306. ISSN 1748-8958 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2011 SAGE

DOI: doi:10.1177/1748895811431847


Preferences of 800 randomly selected Australians for retributive and utilitarian sentencing purposes were examined in response to brief crime scenarios where offender age, offence type and offender history were systematically varied. Respondents selected rehabilitation as the most important purpose for first-time, young and burglary offenders. Punishment was endorsed as most important for repeat, adult and serious assault offenders. Multinomial logistic regression analysis revealed that offence history was a stronger predictor of public preferences than offender age or offence type; the odds of choosing rehabilitation compared with punishment were significantly increased by a factor of 6.1 for cases involving first-time offenders. It appears that when given specific cases to consider, the public takes an approach akin to that taken by the sentencing courts as they weigh up the importance of the various purposes for the case at hand. Public preferences are thus broadly consistent with current law and sentencing practice.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:offence history, offence seriousness, offender age, public opinion, purposes of sentencing
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Public law
Research Field:Public law not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Spiranovic, CA (Dr Caroline Spiranovic)
UTAS Author:Warner, K (Professor Kate Warner)
ID Code:76081
Year Published:2012 (online first 2011)
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2012-02-27
Last Modified:2014-12-18

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