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ERIC Number: EJ821256
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0011-1287
An Attitudinal Explanation of Biases in the Criminal Justice System: An Empirical Testing of Defensive Attribution Theory
Herzog, Sergio
Crime & Delinquency, v54 n3 p457-481 2008
Theoretical perspectives, supported by empirical evidence, have consistently argued that the judicial treatment of offenders by criminal justice agents is sometimes biased by extralegal factors, such as offenders' sociodemographic characteristics. According to defensive attribution theory, individuals tend to protect themselves against unfortunate occurrences, such as becoming crime victims, by distorting the victim's role in his or her own victimization; these mechanisms depend on the observer's perceived similarity to the victim. The present study proposes an attitudinal perspective for explaining biases in legal decisions of criminal justice agents, by taking into account the perceived personal similarity between the victims and offenders involved in such situations and the observers. Respondents from an Israeli national sample were asked to evaluate the seriousness of and to suggest the appropriate punishment for hypothetical, multidimensional crime scenarios committed by a variety of offenders against a variety of victims. Overall, our findings supported our hypotheses. Their theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Israel