Presentation Title

Beliefs about Police Error Leading to Wrongful Convictions and Attitudes on Police Legitimacy

Panel Name

Criminal Justice: Geolocation Technology, Drugs, Online Piracy, and the Perception of Police

Location

Lecture Center Concourse

Start Date

3-5-2019 3:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2019 5:00 PM

Presentation Type

Poster Session

Academic Major

Criminal Justice

Abstract

This study investigates the relations between citizens’ perceptions of how police misconduct as a factor contributing to wrongful convictions is connected to attitudes towards police legitimacy. I hypothesized that there would be a negative correlation between the two variables such that the more individuals believe police error contributes to wrongful convictions, the less legitimate they perceive the police to be. I also examined how citizens’ race affects these perceptions and attitudes hypothesizing that Black citizens are more likely than White citizens to believe police error leads to wrongful conviction and mistrust the police. To test the hypotheses, 105 White and 105 Black residents of the United States completed an online survey via Qualtrics software. The survey included one item that measured participants’ views on the frequency with which police misconduct contributes to wrongful convictions as well as a 9-item scale that assessed how legitimate participants perceive the police to be. Results show a negative correlation between perceptions of police misconduct leading to wrongful conviction and attitudes toward police. Moreover, compared to Black participants, White participants had lower estimates of police misconduct and higher attitudes about police legitimacy. When looking at the correlations between perceptions in separate subsamples of White and Black participants, the White participants had a stronger correlation between their perceived police legitimacy and their beliefs of police error leading to wrongful convictions than Black participants. These findings reveal that beliefs of wrongful convictions are related to attitudes towards the police, and this is an issue worthy of greater consideration as the problem of wrongful convictions is increasingly being brought to light.

Select Where This Work Originated From

Honors College Thesis

First Faculty Advisor

Cynthia Najdowski

First Advisor Email

cnajdowski@albany.edu

First Advisor Department

Criminal Justice

Second Faculty Advisor

Stacey Zyskowski

Second Faculty Advisor Email

szyskowski@albany.edu

Second Advisor Department

Criminal Justice

Third Faculty Advisor

Diana Mancini

Third Advisor Email

dmancini2@albany.edu

Third Advisor Department

Criminal Justice

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May 3rd, 3:00 PM May 3rd, 5:00 PM

Beliefs about Police Error Leading to Wrongful Convictions and Attitudes on Police Legitimacy

Lecture Center Concourse

This study investigates the relations between citizens’ perceptions of how police misconduct as a factor contributing to wrongful convictions is connected to attitudes towards police legitimacy. I hypothesized that there would be a negative correlation between the two variables such that the more individuals believe police error contributes to wrongful convictions, the less legitimate they perceive the police to be. I also examined how citizens’ race affects these perceptions and attitudes hypothesizing that Black citizens are more likely than White citizens to believe police error leads to wrongful conviction and mistrust the police. To test the hypotheses, 105 White and 105 Black residents of the United States completed an online survey via Qualtrics software. The survey included one item that measured participants’ views on the frequency with which police misconduct contributes to wrongful convictions as well as a 9-item scale that assessed how legitimate participants perceive the police to be. Results show a negative correlation between perceptions of police misconduct leading to wrongful conviction and attitudes toward police. Moreover, compared to Black participants, White participants had lower estimates of police misconduct and higher attitudes about police legitimacy. When looking at the correlations between perceptions in separate subsamples of White and Black participants, the White participants had a stronger correlation between their perceived police legitimacy and their beliefs of police error leading to wrongful convictions than Black participants. These findings reveal that beliefs of wrongful convictions are related to attitudes towards the police, and this is an issue worthy of greater consideration as the problem of wrongful convictions is increasingly being brought to light.