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Public Opinion Research Challenges Perception of Widespread Public Demand for Harsher Punishment

Pranis, Kay
June 4, 2015

Source: (1992) Minneapolis, MN: Citizens Council. Downloaded 16 April 2004.

Based on the results of a public opinion poll, this research report argues that Minnesotans favor certain restorative approaches over a focus on prisons and jail in order to prevent crime. The findings indicate majority interest in spending on education, job training and community programs rather than on prisons, and in face to face meetings for nonviolent property offenses. A majority also indicated a higher priority on restitution than on jail time for burglary. The paper goes on to question public policy trends toward greater use of incarceration, citing several prior studies in order to address perceptions among policymakers that the public desires a “tougher” response to crime. The summary recommendations emphasize prevention and restorative justice approaches and call for a re-examination of current policy directions.


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