Contradictory Expectations on Society's Reaction to Crime: A Qualitative Study of How People View the Objectives of Society's Reaction to Crime and How These Objectives Can Be Fulfilled
(English)In: Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, ISSN 1404-3858Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
The intention of this study was to develop an understanding of the views of the public on, first, what the objective(s) of society’s reaction to crime should be, and second, how different types of sanctions are perceived as being able to fulfill these objectives. A thematic analysis was conducted on the basis of transcripts of group interviews. The participants argued that society’s reaction should signal condemnation of the crime and at the same time be beneficial in relation to the re-socialisation of the offender. Sanctions that were perceived to fulfill the signaling of condemnation, i.e. tangible custodial sanctions, were described as being counterproductive in relation to the resocialisation of the offender. On the other hand, the signal of caring for the offender was perceived as having a neutralizing effect on the signal of condemnation. For the objective of society’s reaction to be fulfilled it thus has to give the illusion of being tangible and harsh but at the same time, in reality, must serve as an effective, lasting deterrent to the offender. It is suggested that the contradictions and tensions surrounding the objectives of society’s reaction to crime, and the issue of how these contradictions might be considered when framing crime policy, should be opened up as a matter for discussion in the public debate.
Society's reaction to crime, public opinion, punishment, crime, Scandinavia, Sweden
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject Criminology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92904OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-92904DiVA: diva2:643161