Support for Harsh Criminal Sanctions and Criminal Justice Beliefs: A Social Dominance Perspective

Sidanius, Jim; Mitchell, Michael; Haley, Hillary; Navarrete, Carlos
December 2006
Social Justice Research;Dec2006, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p433
Academic Journal
Much of the criminal justice literature indicates that people’s support for harsh criminal sanctions such as the death penalty is strongly related to their beliefs about deterrence and their beliefs about retribution. In this paper, using social dominance theory as our organizing framework, we expand upon this literature by showing that social dominance orientation (SDO) is also related to support for harsh criminal sanctions, as well as to deterrence and retribution beliefs. In addition, we show that the relationships between SDO, on the one hand, and support for various forms of severe criminal sanctions, on the other, are mediated by deterrence and retribution beliefs.


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