Confidence in the criminal justice system                

Author(s)Indermaur, David and Lynne Roberts
Title Confidence in the criminal justice system
Source Trends & Issues in crime and criminal justice,Australian Institute of Criminology , November 2009, No. 387
Date 2009
Document type Journal article
Coverage Australia
Summary In this paper the authors examine public confidence in the criminal justice system using data from the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA). Included in the survey are four items about each level of the criminal justice system, police, courts and prisons. AuSSA 2007 was completed by 8,133 adults across Australia and from the survey responses it was found that approximately four in ten of the respondents had some contact with the police in the preceding year. The results showed that the majority of respondents had a great deal of confidence in the police to solve crime, to act fairly and to respond quickly to crime. However less than half had a great deal of confidence in the police to prevent crime. The majority of Australians surveyed had little direct contact with the criminal courts. The results showed higher confidence in the criminal courts with regard to defendants' rights than victims' rights and less than a quarter had confidence in the courts dealing with matters quickly, The majority of survey respondents had very little confidence in the prison system in terms of rehabilitation, deterring future offending , teaching skills to prisoners or as a form of punishment, The authors discuss the evaporation of confidence moving through the criminal justice system, from police through to courts and prisons. Ways of improving public confidence are discussed, such as a focus on improving the service component, particularly in police and courts, and improving public information.
Keywords Criminal justice system satisfaction; attitudes; confidence; evaporation effect; survey; evaluation; initiatives

Criminal justice system