Attitudes toward the criminal legal system: Scale development and predictors


The purpose of this study was to assess attitudes toward the criminal legal system and determine how they are related to rule-violating behaviors and experiences with the criminal legal system. To this end, the Attitudes Toward the Criminal Legal System Scale (ATCLS) was developed and five studies were conducted with participants from New England, including college students, high school students, and the community. Studies 1 and 2 found support for the reliability and validity of the ATCLS, and a relation between the ATCLS and authoritarianism and belief in a just world. Study 3 examined the test–retest reliability of the ATCLS. Studies 4 and 5 were conducted primarily to uncover the relation between the ATCLS and law- or rule-related behaviors with a community and high school sample, respectively. Generally, results suggested that there were no sex differences on the ATCLS, but attitudes toward the criminal legal system might function differently for men and women with regards to authoritarianism and behavior.

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Psychology, Crime and Law


Taylor & Francis

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