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Myths and misconceptions: public opinion versus public judgment about sentencing

Gelb, Karen
June 4, 2015

Source: (2008) In Arie Freiberg and Karen Gelb, Eds., Penal Populism, Sentencing Councils and Sentencing Policy. Cullompton, Devon UK: Willan Publishing. Pp. 68-82

The Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council (Freiberg, this volume; McCarthy, this volume) has, as one of its statutory functions, the gauging of public opinion (Sentencing Act 2001 (Vic) s 108(1)(d)). In 2005, soon after its establishment and pursuant to this mandate, the Council initiated a year0long project to ascertain and analyze the current state of knowledge about public opinion on sentencing on both a national and international level. The project was designed to examine and critically evaluate both the substantive issues in the area (what we know about public opinion on sentencing) and methodological issues in this field (how we measure public opinion on sentencing). The ultimate goal of the project was creation of a suite of methodological tools that could be used to gauge public opinion on the wide range of issues that form the work of the Council.

This chapter presents the findings of this project (Gleb, 2006). In particular analyses of both the substantive and methodological issues in the field are presented, with a discussion of ways to progress the capacity of the Council to gauge public opinion on sentencing in Victoria. (Excerpt)


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