The book bears directly on many current debates concerning the ability of the criminal justice system to deliver reliable verdicts. It recognizes the interdependence of decision makers in the system and addresses questions at an appropriately social–psychological level. The book examines systematically and critically the dynamics of criminal decision–making, the response of victims, the assumptions, attitudes and behavior of police officers, the conduct of court proceedings, the performance of witnesses, the strengths and weaknesses of juries, and the sentencing of magistrates and judges. Discussions of law and morality, the attribution of blame in court and in everyday life, and the achievement of justice in interpersonal and organizational contexts, provide a definitive account of the social psychology of law in the context of criminal justice.
Problems with our adversarial system of justice have led to the establishment of a Royal Commission on Criminal Justice. It is commonplace to seek a scapegoat in the behavior of one or other protagonist in the system – especially the police. It will become clear to readers of this book that breakdowns of the system are a product of persuasive interpersonal and intergroup processes of organization, reaching well beyond the behavior of any one agent.
List of Figures.
List of Tables.
1. Who is the criminal?.
2. Are Criminals Morally Immature?.
3. Preparedness for Crime.
4. Calculating Criminal Behavior.
5. Criminal–Victim Interaction.
6. Social Psychology of Criminal Liability.
7. Police on Crime.
8. Stories in Court.
9. Testifying in Court.
10. Twelve Available People: How Juries Decide.
11. Punishing the Offender: Sentencing in Practice.
12. Procedure and the Distribution of Criminal Justice.