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Volume 8 Issue 2

The effects of information processing and message quality on attitudes toward the AMBER Alert System

Sicafuse, L.L., & Miller, M.K.

Despite its popularity, the AMBER Alert system might be an ineffective means of addressing the problem of stranger-child abduction and have unintended negative consequences. To better understand the mechanisms underlying unquestioned public support for AMBER Alert, the current study examined the effects of processing modes specific to Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory and message quality on attitudes toward the system. Contrary to expectations, processing manipulations had no effect on attitudes toward AMBER Alert. However, exposure to high-quality messages regarding the efficacy of AMBER Alert significantly reduced participants' support for the system. These results demonstrate the malleability of attitudes toward alerts and illuminate message components that may encourage more thoughtful contemplation of AMBER Alert and similar crime control policies.

There ought to be a law, but not for me: Hypocritical disjunctures between legal and moral beliefs and low-consensus immoral behaviors

Vogel, B., & Fradella, H.F.

Although the scholarly literature on the relationship between law and morality has been largely theoretical, research has empirically linked conceptualizations of morality with both personal views on formal social control and personal conduct in deviant behaviors. In this study, survey respondents were asked about their moral and legal views on nine low-consensus deviant behaviors, including three drug offenses, three victimless sex offenses, and three criminal traffic offenses, as well as their own history of engaging in the behaviors. Analyses focus on the characteristics of respondents displaying "Belief-Behavior Incongruence"--individuals who believed an act to be immoral and/or felt that the act should be illegal, but nonetheless engaged in the behavior. Significant relationships were found between respondents' belief-behavior incongruent conduct in several lowconsensus deviant behaviors and their gender, religiosity, religion and political party. The socio-legal and theoretical implications of these findings are explored.

Restorative justice in Jamaica: Current attitudes and the way forward

Taylor, C., Chauhan, P. & Fondacaro, M.

Jamaican college students (n = 156) read nine crime cases varying in severity from attempted murder to car theft and rated the crime's suitability for three justice procedures-- restorative justice only, imprisonment only, and mixed restorative justice and imprisonment. Overall, Jamaican students gave the lowest suitability rating for the restorative justice only procedure and the highest suitability rating for the mixed restorative justice and imprisonment procedure. Restorative justice only was perceived as less suitable for more serious crimes. Findings suggest that Jamaicans are more likely to see restorative justice as an alternative, if traditional measures such as imprisonment are kept in place.

The relationship between political ideology and punishment: What do jury panel members say?

Clark, J.W., & Wink, K.

This study examines the effect of the self-identified political ideology of jurors and the tendency of those jurors to assess punishment. Significant research has been conducted that suggests an individual's political ideology is a strong predictor of future behavior. Jury research is ripe with studies attempting to understand juror and jury decision making; however, no study we have found examines summoned jurors' self-identified political ideology and its relationship to punishment. Jurors from a large southwestern city were recruited to participate in this study. In all, 278 participants read a vignette containing a verbal and physical assault and responded to basic demographic questions as well as an attitudinal and ideological measure. We found that political ideology does not affect perceptions of guilt or length of sentence, but conservatives were more likely, controlling for other variables, to favor harsher fines on a perpetrator.