Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Jennifer Eno Louden


Many people hold the misconception that people with mental illness are dangerous. Consequently, people with mental illness are often feared. This stigma is reinforced by the overrepresentation of people with mental illness in the criminal legal system. However, many people with mental illness struggle with the legal system due to ineffective policies making it difficult to adequately identify and treat this population within the legal system. The current studies aimed to understand public support of correctional policy aimed at people with mental illness, examine attitudinal factors that may be associated with this support, and test potential interventions for decreasing stigma and increasing rehabilitative support for this group. Findings show that participants were more supportive of rehabilitative policies aimed at justice involved people with mental illness. Participants' fear of people with mental illness, fear of criminal behavior, perceived mutability of mental illness, and perceived mutability of criminal behavior were examined in relation to support for both punitive and rehabilitative policy. Imagined contact did not effectively increase support for rehabilitative policy, but the education intervention did. These were the first studies to examine the relationship between these attitudinal variables and policy support aimed specifically at justice involved people with mental illness. Future research can build on these findings by improving the interventions tested and identifying other attitudinal factors that could be paths for intervention.




Recieved from ProQuest

File Size

79 p.

File Format


Rights Holder

Betel Alexis Hernandez