Title

Belief in Redeemability and Punitive Public Opinion: “Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal” Revisited

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-3-2020

Publication Title

Criminal Justice & Behavior

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1177/0093854820913585

ISSN

1552-3594

Abstract

In 2009, Maruna and King presented results from a British survey showing that the public’s belief in the redeemability of people who committed offenses curbed their level of punitiveness. Based on a 2017 national survey in the United States (n = 1,000), the current study confirms that redeemability is negatively related to punitive attitudes. In addition, the analyses reveal that this belief predicts support for rehabilitation and specific inclusionary policies (i.e., ban-the-box in employment, expungement of criminal records, and voting rights for people with a felony conviction). Findings regarding measures for punishment and rehabilitation were confirmed by a 2019 Mechanical Turk (MTurk) survey. These results suggest that beliefs about capacity for change among people who committed offenses are key to understanding crime-control public policy.

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