Attitudes toward punishment: public opinion and criminal justice.
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Since the 1950s, penal law in the West has grown more punitive. We document this sharp rise in punitivity in Germany and find its sources in an influx of foreigners, socialization to a distinctive tradition, and worsening social and economic conditions, Specifically, differences in punitivity in East and West Germany after reunification are examined, and though Eastern Germans suffered less serious crime, they were socialized under communism to a tradition of penal severity, and their living conditions were and are particularly stressful. They are also more punitive than Western Germans. In Western Germany, a sharp increase in crime since the early 1970s reflected mainly an influx of foreigners and the sharp rise in the imprisonment rate since then reflects their punishment. Since the 1970s, apart from the foreigners, West Germany has exhibited a high but steady crime rate.
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