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Neutralizing Moral Constraint

NCJ Number
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology Volume: 19 Issue: 4 Dated: (December 1986) Pages: 251-258
R Wortley
Date Published
8 pages
Basic tenets of neutralization theory were investigated in questionnaire responses of 229 adult male inmates and 102 college students in New South Wales, Australia.
Subjects indicated their agreement or disagreement with neutralizing statements related to robbery, murder, rape, and stealing. Consistent with predictions of neutralization, results show that relative to other offenders in general, crime-specific offenders were significantly more likely to endorse statements justifying their own particular offense. The hypothesis that nonoffenders and other offenders would hold similar neutralization values was confirmed for all four armed robbery items, two stealing items, one rape item, and one murder item. This may be because students tended to be less forgiving of overtly violent crimes than offenders in general or because of class-related differences in values. 4 tables and 14 references.


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