The State of the Prisons: Exploring Public Knowledge and Opinion

21 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2005

See all articles by Julian V. Roberts

Julian V. Roberts

University of Oxford - Centre for Criminology

Mike Hough

South Bank University

Abstract

This article reviews public opinion research relating to imprisonment. The focus is upon British attitudes, but wherever possible we place findings from this country in an international context. Most members of the public report little familiarity with the prison system - few people report having had any direct contact with a penal institution. A common finding around the world is that most people believe that prison conditions are quite easy; this belief helps to explain low public levels of confidence in the prison system. Despite these trends, the public does not wish to make prison life harsher merely for the purpose of punishment. People want and expect prisoners to improve their lives while inside, although there is widespread scepticism that rehabilitation is possible in today's prisons.

Suggested Citation

Roberts, Julian V. and Hough, Mike, The State of the Prisons: Exploring Public Knowledge and Opinion. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 44, No. 3, pp. 286-306, July 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=740668

Julian V. Roberts (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Centre for Criminology ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

Mike Hough

South Bank University ( email )

Portland, OR
United States

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