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Perceptions of the Seriousness of Crime Phenomena among the Public and Criminal Justice Officials: What Is Their Impact on Criminal Policy Preferences and the Impact of Evidence on Such Perceptions and Preferences?

Crime seriousness is an essential criterion for criminal policy decisions concerning (de)criminalization, prioritization and sentencing. Public and criminal justice officials’(CJ) crime seriousness perceptions are often used as an indicator of actual crime seriousness, impinge on their criminal policy preferences, and most likely also affect criminal policy decisions. Despite their policy relevance, both crime seriousness perceptions and criminal policy preferences have been neglected in research in the last decades. Against this background, through three surveys, we will (1) compare the Belgian public and CJ officials’ crime seriousness perceptions and criminal policy preferences; (2) investigate the impact of crime seriousness perceptions on criminal policy preferences; (3) consider the significance of two new predictors of such perceptions and preferences, i.e., conservationism and moral foundations; and (4) investigate the impact of providing evidence to the public on its crime seriousness perceptions and criminal policy preferences.
Date:1 Oct 2019  →  Today
Keywords:Crime Seriousness, Criminal Policy, Crime Wrongfulness, Crime Harmfulness, Preferences
Disciplines:Punishment and criminal justice