Poll shows call for tougher punishments in Britain
A new poll into attitudes towards crime & punishment in Britain has shown younger people calling for tougher penalties.
The ComRes* poll was carried out for Radio 1 Newsbeat as BBC Three launches a season of programming devoted to ‘Crime & Punishment’ on the channel throughout March and April.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of young Britons aged 18-30 disagree that 18 is too young to be locked up in an adult prison, while just a quarter (27%) think that this is the case. 1% didn’t know.
Young people (67%) are also more likely than older Britons aged 31 and over (63%) to think that 16-17 year olds should receive the same prison sentences as adults for similar violent crimes.
The majority of young people polled (62%) said that prison conditions are generally not tough enough. Just 3% say that they are too tough but 30% said they were generally about right. 5% didn’t know.
The poll also showed that the public tend to be hard-line when it comes to life sentences meaning life, with no options for early release due to good behaviour for such violent crimes: 70% of 18-30 year olds and 71% of adults aged 31 and over support this.
The majority of the public (59%) say that they would support introducing the death penalty for serious crimes such as terrorist attacks or child murders.
Interestingly, attitudes towards the death penalty did not differ greatly between younger and older generations with 58% of young Britons aged 18-30 supporting it along with 59% of Britons aged 31 and over. 41% of young Brits opposed the introduction of the death penalty and 1% didn’t know, whilst only 37% of Brits aged 31 and over opposed it with 4% not knowing.
The Newsbeat poll also looks at attitudes towards crimes of a sexual nature such as rape or sexual assault.
The overwhelming majority of young Britons (91%) agree that accusations of sexual assault, even if found to be false, often permanently damage a defendant’s reputation. Perhaps for this reason, 58% think people accused of rape or sexual assault should automatically receive anonymity.
Young men were more likely to think anonymity should be granted (63%) than to think it should not be (36%). There was an interesting divide amongst young women, while 53% believe anonymity should be granted, nearly as many (46%) think that it should not be.
Young people are also divided over their views of the police and criminal justice system when responding to allegations of sexual assault. 23% felt that the police and criminal justice system do not take allegations seriously enough, whilst 19% felt they were generally too quick to jump to conclusions without appropriate investigations when acting on allegations of sexual assault.
Methodology Note: ComRes interviewed 1,002 GB adults aged 18-30 and 826 GB adults aged 31 and older, by telephone between 14th February and 4th March 2014. Data were weighted to be representative of all 18-30 year old Britons and all GB adults aged 18+.