Friday, December 18, 2015

Judges' Perception on Causes of Criminality and Justifications for Crime
"Judicial decision-making has been long studied, particularly sentencing, from a number of perspectives. Many researches have focused on the factors affecting the decision-making process, analysing from judges' personal characteristics to court context. This article addresses lay theories of crime as viewed by judges. Forty-nine judges participated in this study, answering a questionnaire about causes of criminality and justifications for crime. Results show a large variety of answer with judges positioned in both sides of the scale. Drug abuse is especially relevant when judges assess causes of criminality and justifications for crime. Regarding causes of criminality, the results suggest that judges' rationale is based on a complex set of social environment characteristics, opposing the dichotomy internal characteristics versus external situational causes, identified in previous studies. Justifications for crime were organized into three major groups: drugs, uncontrolled behaviour and survival. Age and political orientation affected these assessments, but gender was found irrelevant."

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