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“Punitive attitudes of the public: Reality and myth.”

Sessar, Klaus.
June 4, 2015

Source: (1999) In Restorative juvenile justice: Repairing the harm of youth crime, ed. Gordon Bazemore and Lode Walgrave, 287-304. With an introduction by Gordon Bazemore and Lode Walgrave. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.

Sessar scrutinizes the common assumption that the public favors a strongly punitive approach to sentencing. In this vein, he deals specifically with public attitudes concerning punishment, and public attitudes concerning practices such as restitution, compensation, and community service that can be developed and implemented with restorative justice principles and aims. He focuses on juvenile justice in particular. His hypothesis is that the public would actually favor restitution more than retributive punishment if restitution were given a chance to be proven. To test this, he examines the findings of various German research projects that demonstrate the acceptance of restitution, compensation, and the like. He concludes that it is a myth that the public has strong punitive sentiments. Rather, the public displays a significant acceptance of restorative conflict-solving in response to an offense.


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