Feeding the Fear of Crime: Crime-Related Media and Support for Three Strikes

By Valerie J. Callanan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Measuring Punitiveness and
Related Factors

This chapter describes the measures used for the analysis. It begins by explaining how support for three strikes was captured, is followed by a detailed examination of the intervening variables, and ends with a brief description of the exogenous variables used in the analysis. Distributions of the variables are also shown to illustrate differences across race/ethnic groups.


THREE STRIKES SENTENCING

Rather than asking global questions about support for three strikes (e.g., “should a person who has committed three felony offenses receive a sentence of 25 years to life?”), the survey questions were designed to uncover the threshold of support for three strikes depending on both severity of offense and type of crime. This was ascertained through a series of twelve questions that manipulated both the seriousness of offense (worded as either serious or less serious) and type of crime category (either violent, drug, or property offense). There were four possible questions that manipulated severity of offense within the three crime categories. For example, a respondent might first be asked if they supported a sentence of 25 years to life for someone who had committed three serious drug offenses. If they answered affirmatively, they were then asked if they supported a sentence of 25 years to life if the person had committed two serious and one less serious drug offenses. If they answered affirmatively, the manipulation of seriousness level would continue, until they finally said no, or until all three crimes were described as less serious. Each affirmative answer

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Feeding the Fear of Crime: Crime-Related Media and Support for Three Strikes
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Understanding American Punitive Attitudes 3
  • Chapter 2 - Public Opinion of Criminal Sentencing 17
  • Chapter 3 - Media and Public Opinion of Crime 53
  • Chapter 4 - Modeling Support for Three Strikes 91
  • Chapter 5 - Measuring Punitiveness and Related Factors 99
  • Chapter 6 - Explaining Punitiveness 121
  • Chapter 7 - Summing Up 151
  • Appendix A 181
  • Appendix B 189
  • References 201
  • Index 223
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