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1980 are ideal for gaining perspective on the advances made in crime and public opinion research over the past few decades and demonstrate just how far that research has come.Juxtaposition of these works and their findings also provides an interesting window into changes in public opinion on matters related to crime and justice.
Public opinion around crime and justice has been the subject of a number of full-length books, edited collections, and comprehensive survey articles.
The most prolific writer in this area has been the criminologist Julian V.
In some states, public opinion sometimes literally drives criminal justice policy, such as when the public actually votes for criminal justice policies presented as ballot initiatives (California’s notorious three-strikes law, for example, was endorsed by the public through voter referenda).
In other states the criminal justice policymaking process is largely insulated from public influence and opinion.
Relying on current public opinion research (including some of the major data sources [see Data Sources] on American public opinion), Flanagan and Longmire 1996, and Peter D.
Hart Research Associates 2002 offer analyses of fairly contemporary public opinion around justice issues.Much of what people think they know about crime is thus not particularly accurate.Members of the public then form opinions about criminal justice policy issues on this less-than-optimal understanding of crime.Roberts 2004 is an important survey article on public opinion around youth justice.Roberts and Stalans 1998 provides a more concise (and slightly less comprehensive) survey that introduces the readers to the research (and the debates) in this area.There are a number of influential works on the relationship between public opinion, crime, and criminal justice.This section focuses on works explicitly related to public opinion around crime and justice issues, while Understanding Public Opinion focuses on works that address public opinion more broadly.Misconceptions aside, public opinion data from a variety of sources offer policymakers a window into the views of their constituents.Some have argued that punitive criminal justice policy is simply evidence of “democracy at work,” with policymakers simply responding to the desires of their constituents.Roberts and Stalans 1998 is short and direct and therefore ideal for classroom use.Similar but more focused survey articles appear under Punishment and Corrections and Crime, Politics, and Criminal Justice Policy. 1980 are both classics in the area of crime, justice, and public opinion.