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Understanding Public Opinion

Lead Researcher: Diane Crocker

Some argue that one the biggest crisis in the criminal justice system is the lack of public confidence in its effectiveness. Generally the public expresses concerns about polices that appear "soft" on crime but public opinion polls reveal contradictory stories that suggest a distinction between people's values and the norms that they adopt. Indeed, the only major research done to date suggests that the public do support "restorative" outcomes for less serious crimes.

Given the centrality of the "community" to restorative justice principles, public opinion and support is critical for it to work effectively. This project will both help shape the public's knowledge of RJ, in general, and the NS program, in particular, and investigate how the public react to RJ principles and practices. We hope to focus broadly on how the public conceives of "doing justice" rather than how they react to particular sentencing outcomes.