Taking on one of the most popular issues of the day—crime and the way we make sense of it—Julian Roberts and Loretta Stalans reveal the mismatch between the public perception of crime and the reality of crime statistics. Discussing such issues as public knowledge of crime, sources of crime information, information processing by the public, public attitudes about crime, and the effectiveness of punishment, this book considers the role that public opinion plays in the politics of criminal justice issues. Based on extensive data from the United States, with comparisons with Canada and the United Kingdom, Roberts and Stalans reveal the truth behind how the public perceives crime and how this perception compares to actual criminal activity.
Table of Contents
Introduction and Overview: Crime in the Public Eye -- Public Knowledge of Crime: Myths and Realities -- Legal Reforms and Criminal Justice Statistics: What Does the Public Really Know? -- Crime Seriousness -- Beyond Public Responses: The Hidden Effects of Context, Recall, and Stereotypes -- Origins of Crime and Crime Prevention -- Evaluating the Police and the Courts -- Legislative Definitions of Crimes and Law Enforcement Priorities -- The Adversarial System and the Institution of the Jury -- Sentencing and Parole -- The Death Penalty -- Privacy and Free Speech -- Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice -- Gun Control -- Drawing Conclusions