Taxation with representation? Examining public fiscal support for diverse correctional policies
Few criminological studies have investigated what factors influence the public’s fiscal support for correctional policies. This study addresses this gap by exploring public support for increasing taxes to fund five diverse correctional measures–inmate education, drug treatment for inmates, psychiatric care for mentally ill prisoners, child counseling for inmates’ children, and the building of new prisons. Findings suggest that citizen dissatisfaction and criminal justice system employment are significant predictors of decreased support for taxes that would fund correctional policies. Experience with the criminal justice system is a significant predictor of increased support for correctional programming. Social and demographic variables are also predictors of fiscal support. Because large segments of the public support taxes for correctional measures, policymakers should consider such views when adopting or modifying correctional policies. Additionally, correctional systems should consider tracking public support on an annual basis to establish and monitor levels of support for criminal justice policies.