The social correlates of punitiveness toward criminals: A comparison of the czech republic and florida

Michael T. Costelloe, Ted Chiricos, Jiří Buriánek, Marc Gertz, Daniel Maier-Katkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


The United States and the Czech Republic have become more punitive in their responses to criminal behavior. Criminal justice policy may reflect popular opinion to some degree. Using survey data collected in Florida in 1997 and in the Czech Republic in 1998, we identify significant predictors of punitive attitudes for individual citizens of both countries. Our results show that while it is difficult to compare the two countries directly, we do find some common predictors of punitiveness. OLS regression analysis indicates that punitive attitudes for both countries are shaped by fear of crime generally, as well as by more crime-specific concerns. Further, our study finds that antipathy toward those perceived as “other” is the strongest predictor of punitiveness in the Czech Republic. The same underlying process may be at work in Florida where conservatism is a consistent predictor of punitive attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-220
Number of pages30
JournalJustice System Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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