Support for Alternative Sanctions: The Effect of Age on Attitudes Toward Sentencing

Gene M. Lutz, University of Northern Iowa
B. Keith Crew, University of Northern Iowa

Data from a statewide survey are analyzed to examine the effects of age on support for imprisonment and alternative sanctions. Other respondent characteristics, such as gender, education, and victimization history, are also examined. Survey respondents were presented with two randomized crime scenarios and asked to indicate approval or disapproval for each of a series of possible criminal justice responses. Previous analyses of these data found that support for prison terms was surprisingly low, given the recurrent assertion that public attitudes toward criminals have grown increasingly punitive. The present analysis focuses on whether punitive attitudes are uniformly distributed across the age structure, and the significance of age effects.

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Updated 05/20/2006