Assessing Punishment for Environmental Crime

Tara O'Connor Shelley, Florida State University
Ted Chiricos, Florida State University
Marc Gertz, Florida State University

ABSTRACT
Little is known about how the public views environmental crime and even less is known about what is perceived as an appropriate level of punishment for those who commit environmental crimes. We use data collected from a national telephone survey (N=876) to assess how demographic variables and perceptions of environmental threat influence punishment preferences. The perception of environmental threat is measured at the proximate level in terms of personal health and safety and at a more global level in terms of threat to the environment in general. Respondents were asked to rate a variety of punishment options (ranging from inspections to prison) in relation to several environmental crime scenarios. Multinomial regression is used to estimate the independent effects of perceived environmental threat on the selection of harsher punishment alternatives.

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Updated 05/20/2006