The 2007 National Justice Survey: Tackling Crime and Public Confidence

Appendix A - Questionnaire

Environics Research Group.
March 2, 2007
Department of Justice Canada
Tackling Crime Survey
FINAL Questionnaire
PN6059

Introduction

Good afternoon/evening.

My name is and I am calling from the Environics Research Group. Today we are conducting a survey on behalf of the Government of Canada about various issues that affect people’s lives.

This survey is being conducted with a randomly selected group of several thousand Canadians, aged 18 and over. All of the answers provided will remain completely confidential and anonymous. The purpose of this research is to better understand Canadians’ need for different kinds of legal and other types of assistance, which will help in the development of new programs and services.

IF ASKED: The survey will take about 20 minutes, depending on your answers to some of the questions.

IF ASKED:  I can give you a contact name at the Government of Canada at the end of the survey [PROVIDE UPFRONT IF RESPONDENT INSISTS]

IF ASKED: This survey is registered with the National Survey Registration System. The registration system has been created by the Canadian survey research industry to allow the public to verify that a survey is legitimate, get information about the survey industry or register a complaint. The registration systems toll-free telephone number is 1‑800-554-9996.

We choose telephone numbers at random, and then select one person from a household to be interviewed. May I please speak to the person in your household who is 18 years of age or older, and has had the most recent birthday.

May I confirm that you are 18 years of age or over?

CONFIRM WHETHER RESPONDENT WOULD LIKE TO BE INTERVIEWED IN ENGLISH OR FRENCH

  • 1.  Using a 10-point scale with 1 representing “very low confidence” and 10 representing “very high confidence”, how much confidence do you have in each of the following public services in Canada? READ AND ROTATE WITH ITEM D ALWAYS LAST
    1.   The primary and secondary education system
    2.   The health care system
    3.   The social welfare system
    4.   The criminal justice system

In the rest of this survey we will be talking about the criminal justice system in Canada

  • 2.  Using the same 10-point scale with 1 representing “very low confidence” and 10 representing “very high confidence.” How much confidence do you have that the criminal justice system is responsive to the needs of victims of crime?

The criminal justice system in Canada consists of a number of elements. These include: the police, who investigate crimes and lay charges the courts, who determine guilt or innocence and apply sentences the correctional system, which administers sentences such as jail and probation and, the parole system, which makes decisions when to release or parole offenders who are in jail. 

  • 3.  Using the same 10-point scale with 1 representing “very low confidence” and 10 representing “very high confidence” how much do confidence you have in the following parts of the criminal justice system: READ AND ROTATE
    1.   The police
    2.   The courts
    3.   The corrections system
    4.   The parole system

ROTATE THE ORDER OR Q. 4, 5, 6 AND 7

  • 4.  Thinking about the police in general in Canada, using the same 10-point scale, how confident are you in the police’s ability to do each of the following: READ AND ROTATE
    1.   Prevent crime from happening in the first place
    2.   Detect and arrest offenders
  • 5.  Thinking about the courts in Canada and using the same 10-point scale, how confident are you in the courts’ ability to do each of the following: READ AND ROTATE
    1.   Determine guilt or innocence
    2.   Impose appropriate sentences
  • 6.  Thinking about the correctional system in Canada and using the same 10-point scale, how confident are you in its ability to do each of the following? READ AND ROTATE
    1.   Make sure prisoners don’t escape
    2.   Rehabilitate prisoners so they do not commit another offence
  • 7.  Thinking about the parole system, using the same 10-point scale, how confident are you in its ability to do each of the following? READ AND ROTATE
    1.   Make the right decision on which prisoners to release on parole
    2.   Supervise offenders who are in the community on parole
  • 8.  In Canada we have a separate criminal justice system for youth aged 12 to 17, which is guided by the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Using the same 10-point scale with 1 representing “very low confidence” and 10 representing “very high confidence” how much confidence do you have in the youth criminal justice system in Canada?
  • 9.  Using the same 10-point scale with 1 representing “not at all important” and 10 representing “very important” how important do you think it is that the youth criminal justice system take into consideration the fact that youth are less mature than adults?
  • 10.  In the last ten years, have you personally had any involvement in the Canadian criminal justice system in any of the following ways? (yes / no) READ AND ROTATE WITH ITEM “E” ALWAYS LAST
    1.   Being charged with a crime
    2.   Being a witness
    3.   Being a juror
    4.   Working in the justice system yourself (i.e.: police, courts, corrections)
    5.   Being a victim of crime

IF YES TO ITEM “E”, ASK Q. 11a

  • 11.
    1.   Were you the victim of a property offence or a violent offence, or both?
    2.   Did you report the most recent offence to the police?

IF NO TO Q. 11b, ASK:

  • c.  Why didn’t you report the offence to the police? (code responses)

ASK ALL

  • 12.  Over the last five years, do you think that the overall crime rate in Canada has gone up, stayed about the same, or gone down?
  • 13.  What about property crimes such as break and enter and theft? Do you think that over the last five years, the rate of these crimes in Canada has gone up, stayed about the same, or gone down?
  • 14.  And, what about violent crimes such as assault, robbery and murder? Do you think that over the last five years, the rate of these crimes in Canada has gone up, stayed about the same, or gone down?
  • 15.  Official statistics also indicate that 55% of offenders eligible for full parole were denied parole by the National Parole Board last year.  Using a 10-point scale with 1 representing “not accurate at all” and 10 representing “very accurate” how accurate do you think that the official statistics are?

IF SCORE IS LESS THAN 8 IN Q. 15, ASK Q. 16:

  • 16.  To the extent that you think these statistics are not perfectly accurate, do you think a bigger or smaller proportion than 55 percent of eligible offenders are actually being released on parole?

ASK ALL

Now some questions about your own community.

  • 17.  How many years you lived in your current neighbourhood or community?
  • 18.  When thinking about your own neighbourhood compared to other neighbourhoods in your city or community, do you think it is safer, about the same, or less safe?
  • 19.  Do you think your neighbourhood is safer than, about the same, or less safe than most other neighbourhoods in the rest of Canada?
  • 20.  Using a 10-point scale with 1 representing “not at all likely” and 10 representing “very likely” how likely do you think it is that you or someone close to you will become the victim of a property crime in your neighbourhood over the next year?
  • 21.  What the likelihood of being victim of a violent crime over the next year? 
  • 22.  Using a 10-point scale with 1 representing “not at all important” and 10 being “very important”, how important are each of the following sources in shaping your views on the Canadian justice system? READ AND ROTATE
    1.   Television news
    2.   The Internet
    3.   Television shows and movies
    4.   Government
    5.   Community groups
    6.   Friends and family
    7.   Newspapers and magazines

I would like to now ask you questions regarding the federal government’s Tackling Crime Agenda. 

  • 23.  In general, do you think the federal government is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction in its approach to crime and justice issues?
  • 24.  Using a 10-point scale with 1 representing “not at all familiar” and 10 being “very familiar”, how familiar are you with the federal government’s strategy on crime and justice entitled the “Tackling Crime Agenda”?

The Tackling Crime Agenda is focused on three major areas. They are: strengthening Canada’s laws, investing in crime prevention, and increasing police presence on the streets.

  • 25.  Using a 10-point scale with 1 meaning “no impact at all” and 10 meaning “a very significant impact”, how much of an impact you think the part of the Tackling Crime Agenda that involves strengthening laws by introducing tougher sentencing will have on each of the following: READ AND ROTATE
    1.   Crime rates
    2.   Victim satisfaction with the justice system
    3.   Community safety
    4.   Your confidence in the justice system
  • 26.  Using the same 10-point scale with 1 meaning “no impact at all” and 10 meaning “a very significant impact”, how much of an impact you think the part of the Tackling Crime Agenda that involves investing in crime prevention to prevent drug and gang involvement among youth will have on each of the following: READ AND ROTATE
    1.   Crime rates
    2.   Victim satisfaction with the justice system
    3.   Community safety
    4.   Your confidence in the justice system
  • 27.  And, using the same 10-point scale with 1 meaning “no impact at all” and 10 meaning “a very significant impact”, how much of an impact you think the part of the Tackling Crime Agenda that involves increasing the number of police officers on the streets will have on each of the following: READ AND ROTATE
    1.   Crime rates
    2.   Victim satisfaction with the justice system
    3.   Community safety
    4.   Your confidence in the justice system
  • 28.  When the courts are sentencing offenders, the judge can consider many different principles and factors.  On a 10-point scale with 1 meaning “not at all important” and 10 meaning “very important” how important do you think each of the following principles should be in deciding on an appropriate sentence for an offender? READ AND ROTATE
    1.   Expressing society’s disapproval by condemning the offender’s crime
    2.   Setting an example of the offender in the hope that it will deter others from committing offence
    3.   Punishing the offender so that it will deter him or her from committing another offence
    4.   Keeping offenders away from the rest of society
    5.   Making offenders acknowledge and take responsibility for the harm they have caused.
    6.   Making offenders make restitution to repair the harm they caused the victim and/or the community
    7.   Providing rehabilitation opportunities for offenders, such as drug treatment and job skill training, so they are less likely to re-offend.
  • 29.  And which of these do you think should the single most important principle that judges should consider when deciding on an appropriate sentence? READ AND ROTATE ALL ITEMS THAT SCORED 8, 9 OR 10 IN Q. 28

I would like to now ask you a few questions about conditional sentences.  Conditional sentences require an offender to serve his or her sentence in the community while under conditions imposed by the courts such as a curfew.  It is sometimes referred to as "house arrest".  If the offender does not follow the conditions set by the court, a prison sentence can then be imposed. 

  • 30.  I am now going to list specific crimes and situations and ask you how appropriate a conditional sentence would be in each case using a 10-point scale with 1 representing “never appropriate” and 10 representing “always appropriate”: READ AND ROTATE
    1.   Stealing a car
    2.   Possessing a small amount of marijuana
    3.   Breaking and entering someone’s home while they are not home
    4.   Child sexual abuse
    5.   Committing armed robbery with a gun
    6.   Raping someone at knife point
    7.   Selling a large quantity of cocaine
    8.   Driving under the influence of drugs
    9.   For an offender who has committed a third serious offence
    10.   For an offender who commits a new offence while out on bail for a previous offence
    11.   Committing a non-violent crime such as fraud or theft
    12.   Driving under the influence of alcohol

I will now pose some questions about mandatory minimum sentences. A mandatory minimum sentence is a jail sentence where the minimum length of time been set by Parliament and a judge may not go below this length.

  • 31.  Using the same 10-point scale with 1 representing “never appropriate” and 10 representing “always appropriate” how appropriate do you think a mandatory minimum sentence would be for each of the following types of crimes or situations: READ AND ROTATE
    1.   Stealing a car
    2.   Possessing a small amount of marijuana
    3.   Breaking and entering someone’s home while they are not home
    4.   Child sexual abuse
    5.   Committing armed robbery with a gun
    6.   Raping someone at knife point
    7.   Selling a large quantity of cocaine
    8.   Driving under the influence of drugs
    9.   For an offender who has committed a third serious offence
    10.   For an offender who commits a new offence while out on bail for a previous offence
    11.   Committing a non-violent crime such as fraud or theft
    12.   Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • 32.  In some countries, a judge can issue a jail term shorter than the mandatory minimum sentence in special circumstances.  How appropriate do you think it would be (using the same 10-point scale REPEAT DEFINITION OF SCALE IF NECESSARY) if a judge had the ability to sentence below a mandatory minimum sentence set by Parliament in the following specific circumstances? READ AND ROTATE
    1. The harm to the victim was not very serious
    2. It was the offenders first offence
    3. The prosecution agrees that the sentence would be too harsh
    4. The offender agrees to help prosecute a more serious criminal

Now I want to ask you about the age at which Canadians can legally consent to sexual activity.

  • 33.  At what age do you think that a Canadian ought to be able to legally consent (agree to) to sex no matter how old the other person is?
  • 34.  What about if the person is close in age to the person they will have sex with? Should the age of consent still be [ANSWER TO Q. 33] or should it be lower when it involves two people that are within a few years of each others age?
  • 35.  In dealing with the issue of illegal drugs in Canada, the government can spend money on several different approaches.  On a 10-point scale with 1 representing “not at all effective” and 10 representing “very effective” how effective do you believe each of the following approaches would be in addressing the problem of illegal drugs in Canada? READ AND ROTATE
    1.   Prevention of illegal drug use by educating youth on the dangers of drugs
    2.   Tougher penalties for drug traffickers and manufacturers
    3.   Treatment programs for drug addiction
    4.   Reducing the harm caused by drug use through things like, like needle exchange and methadone clinics
  • 36.  The courts in Canada can order someone convicted of a criminal offence to submit a sample of their DNA so it can be used in future criminal investigations.  How appropriate do you think this practice is in each of the following situations using the ten point scale with 1 meaning totally inappropriate and 10 meaning totally appropriate? READ IN ORDER
    1.   When someone is convicted of any crime regardless of the severity
    2.   When someone is convicted of a crime involving serious violence
  • 37.  I would like to now ask a few questions on bail.  Right now Crown prosecutors usually have to prove to a judge why an accused should not be granted bail, either because they represent a threat to society, they may flee to avoid prosecution or to maintain the public’s confidence in the justice system. In each of the following cases should the burden of proof still be on the crown to prove why an accused should NOT be granted bail, OR, should the burden of proof be on the accused to prove why they SHOULD be granted bail?: READ IN ORDER
    1.   When someone is charged with any crime regardless of the severity
    2.   When someone is charged with a crime involving serious violence
  • 38.  When an accused is not granted bail, they are sent to jail to wait for their trial.  If they are convicted and sentenced, the court sometimes gives extra credits for this time spent in jail because temporary holding facilities are often overcrowded and do not always provide the same opportunities as regular prisons.  As well, parole eligibility guidelines do not count this time spent in custody when determining someone’s release date.  Which of the following do you think is the best way to deal with the issue of credits for pre-trial custody for a non-violent offence? READ AND ROTATE
  • 39.  What about for a serious violent offence? Should there be…? READ AND ROTATE

Finally, a few questions for statistical purposes.  Please be assured that all your responses will be kept entirely anonymous and absolutely confidential. 

  • 40.  In what year were you born?
  • 41.  What is the highest level of education that you have reached?
  • 42.  Which of the following best describes your own present employment status?
  • 43.  Where were you born?

ASK ALL BORN OUTSIDE CANADA

  • 44.  How long have you lived in Canada?

ASK ALL

  • 45.  Are you an Aboriginal person? CLARIFY IF NECESSARY:  A First Nations, Métis or Inuit person?
  • 46.  Which of the following best describes your current marital status?
  • 47.  Are there any children under the age of 18 currently living in your household?
  • 48.  Which language do you, yourself, usually speak at home?  (If you speak more than one language, which one do you speak most often?)  INSIST ON ONLY ONE ANSWER
  • 49.  Do you consider yourself to be a member of a visible minority group?
  • 50.  How often, if at all, do you attend religious services?
  • 51.  Into which of the following categories would you put the total annual income in 2006 of all the members of your household, including yourself, before taxes and deductions?
  • 52.  Which of the following best describes your living situation?
  • DO NOT ASK - RECORD RESPONDENT’S SEX
  • DO NOT ASK - RECORD PROVINCE
  • DO NOT ASK - RECORD URBAN/RURAL AREA
  • DO NOT ASK - RECORD LANGUAGE OF INTERVIEW

Thank you for your participation

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