Public Perceptions and Attitudes Towards People with Arson Convictions: A Preliminary Examination and Comparison with Sexual Convictions
People with arson convictions face significant reintegration barriers that have the potential to compromise the desistance process. Public perceptions and attitudes have been identified as one factor which can impact the range and quality of reintegration opportunities necessary to support desistance. However, limited research to date has examined public perceptions and attitudes towards people with arson convictions. The current thesis sought to address this gap in the existing literature using two interlinked studies. Study 1 utilised a qualitative online survey with 60 student participants to qualitatively examine the content and valence of perceptions and attitudes towards people with arson convictions. Study 2 used a between-subjects experimental design to quantitatively examine similarities and differences in public perceptions and attitudes between individuals with arson and sexual convictions in a sample of 198 community participants. In addition, four open-ended questions were analysed using summative content analysis to explore the primary concerns underpinning participants’ perceptions and attitudes. This research provides novel insight into the public perceptions, attitudes, and underlying concerns related to people with arson convictions. These findings have potential implications for policy and practice and can be used to inform future empirical research.