Measuring the effects of small group deliberation on public attitudes towards sentencing : benefits and challenges

Mackenzie, Geraldine Isabel, Stobbs, Nigel, Ferguson, Claire, & Gelb, Karen (2014) Measuring the effects of small group deliberation on public attitudes towards sentencing : benefits and challenges. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 25(3), pp. 745-761.

View at publisher


This article reports on the outcomes of small group deliberations on levels of punitiveness and public confidence in the sentencing functions of Australian criminal courts, conducted as part of a larger project investigating public attitudes to sentencing. One hypothesis of the project as a whole was that a more informed and involved public is likely to be less punitive in their views on the sentencing of offenders, and to express less cynical views about the role of sentencing courts. The aim of the small group deliberations as part of the broader project was to engender a more thoughtful and considered approach by participants to issues around sentencing. It was hypothesised that the opportunity to discuss, deliberate and consider would lead to a measurable reduction in punitiveness and an increase in people’s confidence in the courts. While the results do indeed indicate such changes in attitudes, the current study also shed light on some of the conceptual, methodological and practical challenges inherent in this type of research.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

199 since deposited on 23 Mar 2014
59 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 69024
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: small group deliberations, punitiveness, public attitudes, sentencing
ISSN: 1034-5329
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Courts and Sentencing (160203)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The University of Sydney, Institute of Criminology Press
Deposited On: 23 Mar 2014 23:07
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2015 13:24

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page