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Risk Perceptions Among Serious Offenders: The Role of Crime and Punishment

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 30 Issue: 4 Dated: (November 1992) Pages: 575-594
Date Published
20 pages
Data collected from interviews with 1,046 convicted male offenders sentenced to the Nebraska Department of Corrections were used to examine relationships between perceived risk of arrest, participation in crime, and experience of formal sanctions.
Control variables used in this study included total number of crime-specific offenses committed during the reference period, total number of crime-specific arrests during that period, age, race, education, age at first arrest, and drug use during the reference period. The findings confirmed earlier research showing an inverse relationship between participation in an offense and perceived risk of arrest for that offense. The data indicated that the subjects rationally based their perceptions of risk of arrest on the ratio of arrests to offenses they had personally experienced. Future research should focus on the development of risk perceptions across different crimes and the recency and primacy effects of formal sanction experiences. Another factor to consider would be the role of vicarious experience of sanctions and communications regarding risk. 3 tables, 4 notes, 28 references, and 1 appendix

Date Published: January 1, 1992