Australian Institute of Criminology

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How the public sees sentencing: an Australian survey

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 4

John Walker, Mark Collins and Paul Wilson
ISBN 0 642 11622 9 ISSN 0817-8542
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology April 1987


The Australian Institute of Criminology commissioned a survey of public attitudes on appropriate sentences for a comprehensive range of offences including: heroin trafficking, offences involving actual or threatened violence, corporate and industrial crime, domestic violence, employer negligence, fraud, and minor offences (eg homosexual acts, shoplifting). The average response shows broad agreement with typical court decisions, but sociodemographic analysis highlights a diversity of opinion and an unexpected sophistication in public attitudes about crime and punishment.