Why are Punitive Punishments Preferred? Examining the Public’s Perception of Community Corrections

by Tashia Wheeler
Criminology / Criminal Justice
Faculty advisor: Dr. Stephanie Hays

The purpose of this study was to examine whether or not the public’s perceptions of punitive punishments align with the current imprisonment binge occurring in the United States. In order to examine this data were collected through focus groups conducted in both Muscatine and Storm Lake, Iowa. Participants were asked to share their opinions on punishment and give their ideal sentence based on factual evidence presented in various vignettes. Do the results align with politicians’ platforms of being tough on crime? Does the public really prefer incarceration over other alternatives?