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The functional relation between social inequality, criminal stereotypes and public attitudes toward punishment of crime

Côté-Lussier, Carolyn (2016). The functional relation between social inequality, criminal stereotypes and public attitudes toward punishment of crime Psychology, Public Policy, and Law , vol. 22 , nº 1. p. 47-56. DOI: 10.1037/law0000073.

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Résumé

The public’s “appetite” for punishment of crime has led some to compare support for harsh criminal justice policies to a practice of excess, much like craving ice cream. But what drives this appetite for punishment? This study investigates the functional relation between social structural factors of competition and social status, the endorsement of criminal stereotypes, and affective, behavioral and punitive responses to criminals. Results suggest, first, that perceiving criminals as competing against society for resources and power and as having a low social status (e.g., in terms of economic and educational attainment) is associated with perceiving criminals as being cold and untrustworthy, but somewhat competent and efficient. These perceptions are associated with feeling more anger and uneasiness, and less compassion toward criminals. Finally, feeling angry toward criminals is associated with supporting harsh criminal justice policies (e.g., giving law breakers stiffer sentences). The findings suggest that perceptions related to increasing social inequality could engender shifts in the endorsement of criminal stereotypes that are associated with public punitiveness.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: inégalités sociales; stéréotypes; criminels
Centre: Centre Urbanisation Culture Société
Date de dépôt: 11 déc. 2019 14:45
Dernière modification: 11 déc. 2019 14:45
URI: http://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/8809

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