Fewer Americans call for tougher criminal justice system

Americans’ belief that the U.S. criminal justice system is “not tough enough” on crime is now half of what it was in Gallup’s initial reading of 83% in 1992. The latest measure, at 41%, is the lowest on record and down slightly from the previous reading in 2016 — although it remains the view of the plurality. At the same time, there has been a seven-percentage-point uptick among those who say the system is “too tough” (21%) and no change among those who think it is “about right” (35%)…

Views of the criminal justice system vary by party identification and racial background. A 58% majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say the criminal justice system is not tough enough. However, this view is shared by less than half as many Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (25%), while 37% think the system is about right and 35% too tough.

More White Americans than non-White Americans say the justice system is not tough enough on crime (45% vs. 31%, respectively). The plurality of non-White adults, 40%, think it is about right, while 26% believe it is too tough.