Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Terry Winegar


Within the United States, punitive sentiment has increased between the 1970s-1990s. However, at this time the crime rate was actually declining (Ackerman et al, 2001). Three models have been utilized to explain the observed punitive sentiment: The Escalating Crime-Distrust model, the Moral decline model, and the racial animus of crime model (Unnever et al, 2010). The central premise of the Escalating Crime-Distrust model is that due to a permissive criminal justice system there has been a perceived increase in crime and the public has lost faith in the criminal justice system (Unnever et al, 2010). The moral decline model explains punitive sentiment through the perception of a loss of social cohesion. To that end it is believed that focusing on punishment will serve to restore the lost social cohesion (Unnever et al, 2010). The Racial Animus of Crime model contends that public attitudes towards punishment stem from racial and ethnic intolerance (Unnever et al, 2010). When considering how political parties align themselves on social issues, voting preferences have been found to reflect attitudes towards Punishment or Rehabilitation in the criminal justice system. To that end, how does political ideology influence attitudes towards Punishment or rehabilitation in the criminal justice system?


Presented as part of the Ursinus College Celebration of Student Achievement (CoSA) held April 23 – April 30, 2020.

The downloadable file is a PowerPoint slide presentation with recorded audio commentary.


Available to Ursinus community only.