For over a century scholars and practitioners have conceived of rehabilitation as the progressive mirror image of repression. Elaborating on previous warnings and anomalous findings, a representative survey of the Dutch population (N=1,892) points out that this received view is flawed. When measured separately, no significant correlation exists between support for rehabilitation and support for repression, rehabilitation is equally popular among the constituencies of conservative and progressive political parties, and no negative relationship exists between rehabilitation and authoritarianism. Abolition rather than rehabilitation proves to constitute the progressive opposite of repression. By way of conclusion, we discuss the remarkable persistence of the myth cracked in this paper, even in the face of convincing earlier contradictory evidence.

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Keywords public opinion, punishment, rehabilitation, repression (political)
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Mascini, P., & Houtman, D.. (2006). Does public support for rehabilitation really mirror that for repression?: cracking a deep-rooted criminological myth. The British Journal of Criminology: an international review of crime and society. Retrieved from