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Punitivity In Polish Law, Public Opinion, And Penal Policy

Authors:
  • Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences
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... Krajewski (2002: 181-182) jest zwolennikiem drugiego z tych twierdzeń. Uważa, że wysoki stopień punitywności polskiego społeczeństwa jest skutkiem systemu totalitarnego, jaki przez lata panował w Polsce (i innych krajach Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej). Kształtował on bowiem konserwatywne, sztywne i nietolerancyjne postawy społeczne, skutkujące bardzo punitywnym ustawodawstwem karnym, a w konsekwencji częstym orzekaniem kary pozbawienia wolności i wysoką populacją więzienną (więcej na ten temat patrz: Klaus et al. 2011). Doprowadziło to do dewaluacji kary pozbawienia wolności, która jest obecnie uważana przez społeczeństwo za podstawową sankcję w Polsce -zatem zdaniem opinii publicznej jedyna sprawiedliwa kara dla przestępców to więzienie. ...
... This policy was liberalised in line with human rights thinking in Central Europe in the 1990s, but revisited in the twenty-first century, where a gradual tightening of penal policy can be observed. The best example of this is the increase in the number of regulations tightening criminal liability and the consequent increase in the number of people imprisoned (Lévay 2012;Klaus et al. 2011;Kossowska et al. 2008). ...
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Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic are three former post-socialist countries that have a great deal in common, both from a historical and a socio-economic perspective, despite their considerable differences. There are also many similarities in how crime and criminality have changed in these countries over the past 30 years. For all their many shared attributes, however, there are visible differences in the criminality and victimisation of their youth. The Czech Republic seems to have the fewest juvenile issues, while Hungary has the highest level of crime in the region. Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic also differ in their juvenile justice systems and the ideology underpinning their response to juvenile offences.
... They (2012, p. 58) also report that, "Poles truly manifest a rather high level of punitivity compared with other European nations". Klaus, Rzeplinska, and Wozniakowska-Fajst (2011) speculate that the harsh criminal laws of Poland reflect the rigid, authoritarian attitudes characteristic of the communist years in central and east Europe. As Selih (2012, p. 32) argues, just as they were rejecting the highly punitive criminal justice systems of authoritarian, one-party states, eastern European states were "tempted by the ideas of 'new punitiveness' being advocated by a great number of Western experts". ...
Article
This paper introduces an original data set that provides insight into how Ukrainian and US college students would punish criminal offenders. Students on four campuses in Ukraine and four in the United States completed surveys that help us better understand these differences. In general, Ukrainian students are more likely than American students to be crime victims than are American students and they are consistently more fearful of being victimised. Ukrainian students are more punitive than American students for some types of crimes (e.g., drug possession) while Americans are more punitive on other crimes (e.g., burglary).
... He argues that the high level of punitivity in Polish society is a consequence of the totalitarian system which held sway in Poland for years (as it did elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe). It gave rise to conservative, rigid, and intolerant social attitudes resulting in very punitive criminal laws and accordingly frequent recourse to custodial sentences and a high prison population (for more on this subject see: Klaus et al. 2011). This leads to a devaluing of the punishment of imprisonment, which is currently seen by society as the basic penalty in Poland-therefore public opinion views prison as the only just punishment for criminals. ...
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This chapter deals with three important issues for countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which are going through political transformation, associated with society’s perception of crime: fear of crime, politicization of crime, and the impact of the media on public perception of crime. The authors set out the main characteristics of these phenomena since 1989 in the countries of the region, with a view to performing a more detailed analysis of them in the context of Poland. Despite the numerous differences among the countries going through the transformation in the past 20 years, they are beginning to fall within the ambit of the same rules as the “mature” democracies of Western Europe. In evidence are the same processes associated with the behavior of politicians in relation to troubling social phenomena and their use of populism as a method of wielding power, similar media reactions to criminality, and the recorded drop in the fear of crime.
... He argues that the high level of punitivity in Polish society is a consequence of the totalitarian system which held sway in Poland for years (as it did elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe). It gave rise to conservative, rigid, and intolerant social attitudes resulting in very punitive criminal laws and accordingly frequent recourse to custodial sentences and a high prison population (for more on this subject see: Klaus et al. 2011). This leads to a devaluing of the punishment of imprisonment, which is currently seen by society as the basic penalty in Poland-therefore public opinion views prison as the only just punishment for criminals. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter deals with three important issues for countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which are going through political transformation, associated with society's perception of crime: fear of crime, politicization of crime, and the impact of the media on public perception of crime. The authors set out the main characteristics of these phenomena since 1989 in the countries of the region, with a view to performing a more detailed analysis of them in the context of Poland. Despite the numerous differences among the countries going through the transformation in the past 20 years, they are beginning to fall within the ambit of the same rules as the mature democracies of Western Europe. In evidence are the same processes associated with the behavior of politicians in relation to troubling social phenomena and their use of populism as a method of wielding power, similar media reactions to criminality, and the recorded drop in the fear of crime. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York. All rights are reserved.
... They (2012, p. 58) also report that, "Poles truly manifest a rather high level of punitivity compared with other European nations". Klaus, Rzeplinska, and Wozniakowska-Fajst (2011) speculate that the harsh criminal laws of Poland reflect the rigid, authoritarian attitudes characteristic of the communist years in central and east Europe. As Selih (2012, p. 32) argues, just as they were rejecting the highly punitive criminal justice systems of authoritarian, one-party states, eastern European states were "tempted by the ideas of 'new punitiveness' being advocated by a great number of Western experts". ...
Article
A thorough review of the literature reveals many methodological weaknesses in research exploring the attitudes of the public toward criminal offenders. By identifying and correcting these shortcomings, this study examines the factors influencing the attitudes of college students toward criminal offenders. Examining these factors can significantly improve our understanding of why there has been a sharp increase in prison populations. A survey of 2,273 students in four Texas and Wisconsin universities provides us with original data for this analysis. Respondents were asked to assess appropriate punishments for six different types of crimes. An Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regression enabled us to conclude that ideology is the best single predictor of student attitudes toward the treatment of criminals. In fact, in the face of strong political ideology, individual demographics seem to be irrelevant. Interestingly, Texas college students are more punitive toward sexual offenders than Wisconsin students are.
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