Public Attitudes on Crime and Punishment

As part of the Public Safety Performance Project's work in the states to protect public safety and control corrections costs, we worked with two of the nation's leading polling firms, Public Opinion Strategies and the Benenson Strategy Group, to explore public attitudes toward crime and punishment. The firms conducted focus groups and a national survey of voters to measure support for policy change and enhance the way we communicate about these complicated issues.

Key Takeaways

  • Voters are concerned first and foremost with keeping communities and people safe.
  • Voters want a strong public safety system where criminals are held accountable and there are consequences for illegal activities.
  • Voters believe a strong public safety system is possible while reducing the size and cost of the prison system.

On September 14, 2010, Pew hosted a webinar with Public Opinion Strategies and the Benenson Strategy Group to share the research findings. Download the slides from the full presentation (Adobe PDF).

Public Opinion Strategies is a leading national political, public policy and public affairs research firm. Public Opinion Strategies is widely recognized as the nation's leading Republican polling firm, listing 17 U.S. senators, seven governors, and over 40 members of Congress as clients. Public Opinion Strategies also works for some of America's largest corporations and associations in the public affairs realm.

The Benenson Strategy Group is a globally recognized research and consulting firm with advanced expertise in developing winning strategies based on a clear analysis of the attitudes and beliefs that voters and consumers bring to their decision making. Their clients include presidential candidates, governors and members of Congress, as well as international labor unions, Fortune 100 companies and major nonprofits.

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