(Gallup) Over half of Americans say criminal justice system is not tough enough

The following is from Gallup News.

A 58% majority of Americans think the U.S. criminal justice system is not tough enough in its handling of crime, marking a sharp reversal from the prior reading in 2020 when a record-low 41% said the same.

Another 26% of U.S. adults currently say the system is about right, while 14% think it is too tough.

The latest readings on this measure, from Gallup’s Oct. 2-23 annual Crime survey, mark the sixth time the question has been asked since 1992.

The three readings between 1992 and 2003 found solid majorities of Americans, ranging from 65% to 83%, saying the criminal justice system was not tough enough on crime.

Yet, the next time the question was asked, in 2016, less than half of U.S. adults thought the system needed to be tougher and nearly as many said it was about right. These views were generally steady in 2020.

Majorities of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have consistently called for the criminal justice system to be tougher across all years, but the percentages of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents holding the same opinion have ranged from 25% to 62%. Democrats’ view that the system is too tough has been between 6% and 35%.

In the current survey, three-quarters of Republicans think the criminal justice system is not tough enough, 16% say it is about right, and 7% believe it is too tough.

Democrats are more divided in their views, with a 42% plurality saying it is not tough enough, 35% about right and 20% too tough.

While a 63% majority of White adults say the criminal justice system is not tough enough, fewer people of color, 49%, agree. Another 29% of people of color think the system is about right (compared with 24% of White adults), and 20% say it is too tough, which is slightly higher than the 12% of White adults who say the same.

Americans Divided Over Fairness of Criminal Justice System

The latest poll also finds Americans are evenly divided in their views of whether people accused of committing crimes are treated fairly by the criminal justice system. Equal 49% shares of U.S. adults say such suspects are treated very or somewhat fairly and very or somewhat unfairly.

This marks a significant shift in opinion compared with prior readings in 2000 and 2003, when two-thirds of Americans said criminal suspects were treated at least somewhat fairly.

While majorities of Republicans (55%) and White adults (53%) believe that criminal suspects are treated fairly, majorities of Democrats (55%) and people of color (56%) think they are treated unfairly.

The percentages of Republicans and Democrats who say suspects receive fair treatment are both 18 percentage points lower than in 2003. Similarly, White adults (by 15 points) and people of color (by 18 points) are less likely now than in 2003 to believe suspects are treated fairly. (Continued….)

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3 thoughts on “(Gallup) Over half of Americans say criminal justice system is not tough enough”

  1. The criminal justice system is only tough on J6 attendees, Trump and his associates, and pro-life activists. It’s soft on pretty much everyone else.

  2. It depends on who you are. Or aren’t. We have a biased justice system. Rich assholes can get away with murder, and often do. Politicians steal from the people that voted them into office, and make themselves extremely wealthy. A poor man commits a crime and is immersed into a quagmire of bureaucracy that nickels and dimes him for years.

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