Restorative justice (RJ) is oriented to respond to crime in ways that would repair individual, relational, and social harm. This study examined the relationship between type of offense and public attitudes toward RJ, in addition to the psychological mechanisms undergirding this relationship. We examined a model of three offense types (sexual, violent, and property) and their differential effect on support for RJ. Moreover, we examined whether this relationship was mediated by incremental beliefs, i.e., that human character is malleable. We also explored two control variables previously found predictive of attitudes toward punishment: perceived seriousness of the offense and fear of crime. Participants (N = 608) read a definition of one offense and completed a survey regarding incremental beliefs, fear of crime, perceived seriousness of the offense, and support for RJ. The findings indicated main effects of offense type on attitudes toward RJ. Additionally, differences between offense types were found in incremental beliefs and attitudes toward RJ, such that for both variables, sexual offenses were rated the lowest followed by violent and property offenses. An indirect effect of offense type on attitudes toward RJ through incremental beliefs was also found, but not through fear of crime or perceived seriousness.
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- incremental beliefs
- offense types
- restorative justice