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Criminal Justice Sciences


Jessie Krienert

Mentor Department

Criminal Justice Sciences


The purpose of this research is to examine why people think crime occurs, exploring differences in gender, race, religion, and political affiliation. Americans thoughts on criminality conflict, as they are often both punitive and progressive (Cao & Cullen, 2001; Cullen, Fisher, & Applegate, 2000; O'Hear & Wheelock, 2020). Those who identify as politically conservative are more likely to support punitive views compared to individuals with another political affiliation (O'Hear & Wheelock, 2020). Compared to just a few decades ago, Americans are less likely to endorse punitive criminal justice policies (Ramirez, 2013; School of Public Policy, 2021). Little research has been done to examine why people, and college students specifically, believe crime occurs. Hypotheses: Participants who are white, religious, or conservative will be more likely to personally blame offenders, instead of societal issues, for committing crimes.

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