Public Confidence in Criminal Justice: What’s the Problem?

  • Elizabeth R. Turner
Part of the Critical Criminological Perspectives book series (CCRP)


Turner sets the idea of public confidence in criminal justice in the context of concerns about ‘penal populism’. She notes that criminologists have proposed a number of responses to populism, including protecting criminal justice from political influence, better educating the public to produce more informed opinion, and shifting towards a ‘better politics’ through dialogue and deliberation. Turner suggests that deliberative methods show the most promise when it comes to making sustainable improvements in the politics of criminal justice policy. However, she argues, the dominance of quantitative, survey-based approaches to understanding ‘public opinion’, including ‘public confidence’, poses a substantial barrier to adopting a more deliberative approach. In light of this, she proposes, it is necessary to examine how the survey-based approach became dominant in order to challenge it more effectively.


Penal populism Democracy Public opinion Deliberative methods Public confidence in criminal justice 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth R. Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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