Meredith Allison co-authors paper on people's understanding of the Canadian Criminal Code
The associate professor of psychology was published in the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Meredith Allison, an associate professor of psychology, coauthored a paper in the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice that was the result of a collaborative project with Sandy Jung (MacEwan University) and Heather Ahn-Redding (High Point University).
The complete citation and abstract:.
Jung, S., Ahn-Redding, H., Allison, M. (2014). Crimes and punishment: Understanding of the Criminal Code. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 54, 341-366. doi: 10.3138/cjccj.2013.E17
Abstract: Knowledge about criminal law is expected in our society. There are many important reasons why accurate knowledge should be expected, such as deterring citizens from engaging in illegal conduct and ensuring that people are making sound decisions about supporting or not supporting changes in the criminal justice system. This study surveyed 301 undergraduate students about their knowledge of criminal laws and the associated sentences. Our results indicate that participants were accurate in defining theft and the ages for legal use of substances and in identifying whether specific scenarios describe acts considered sexual offences, but less able to define the blood alcohol level for impaired driving, dangerous driving, sexual interference, or aggravated sexual assault. With regards to sentencing dispositions, participants were not consistently accurate. They also tended to inflate the likelihood of reoffending in general, particularly violent and sexual offending. Prior exposure to the criminal justice system did not seem to be associated with crime and sentencing knowledge or recidivism estimations. Our findings identify areas where young adults are unaware of legal definitions of crimes and their punishments and point out the need to find innovative ways to educate young adults on the Criminal Code.