AbstractPerceptions of legal actor legitimacy have important implications for criminal behaviour. While the link between perceptions of legitimacy and legal compliance has been well established, the sources of legitimacy evaluations are less clear. Drawing from the literature on legal socialization, we examined whether parents’ perceptions of the legitimacy of criminal justice authority figures influenced those same attitudes in their children. Using three waves of data from the Pathways to Desistance study, we showed that parents’ perceptions of legitimacy significantly predicted perceptions of legitimacy in their children. These effects remained robust across different model and sample specifications. Our findings have important implications for how we think about legal socialization—namely, the importance of fair and respectful legal actor behaviour across generations.
The British Journal of Criminology – Oxford University Press
Published: Sep 1, 2017
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