Exploring the perception of young people on alternatives to imprisonment

My name is Edera Camilleri and I am a student at the University of Malta, presently
reading for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Criminology. I am presently conducting a
research study for my dissertation titled Exploring the perception of young people on
alternatives to imprisonment; this is being supervised by Dr Janice Formosa Pace. This
letter is an invitation to participate in this study. Below you will find information about
the study and about what your involvement would entail, should you decide to take part.

The aim of my study is to investigate the different alternatives to imprisonment and
explore the perception of young people on other forms of punishment other than
imprisonment. I am keen to get a better understanding of the alternatives to imprisonment
and the perception youths have on these alternatives. Any data collected from this
research will be used solely for purposes of this study.

Should you choose to participate, you will kindly be asked to fill in a questionnaire
containing 32 close-ended questions. The platform that will be used to disseminate the
questionnaire is google forms. The questionnaire will be available on the virtual
platforms of “Agenzija Zghazagh”. The University mailshot will also be used to send the
questionnaire by email in order to reach more young participants. Participants' age is
targeted to be between 18 and 24 years. The participants will only be required to answer
the questions from the questionnaire. This will approximately take 15 minutes long. This
shall be done in order to explore views on the alternatives to imprisonment.

Data collected will be handled anonymously. It will be stored securely for the periods
until the dissertation is finalised and submitted. The dissertation would be available at the
library post examination.

Participation in this study is entirely voluntary and you can stop at any time whilst
compiling the online questionnaire. However, once the questionnaire is submitted, you
cannot rectify, access or delete your responses. By submitting, it also means consenting to
participate in this study. A copy of this information sheet is being provided for you to
keep and for future reference.

Your participation is completely voluntary, but would be greatly appreciated. Should you
have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail
edera.camilleri.19@um.edu.mt. You can also contact my supervisor via email:
janice.formosa-pace@um.edu.mt.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Edera Camilleri Dr Janice Formosa Pace
edera.camilleri.19@um.edu.mt janice.formosa-pace@um.edu.mt
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1) Tick what you consider as suitable alternatives to imprisonment (you can tick as many as you wish): *
Required
2) Do you think that alternatives to imprisonment are more effective than a sentence to prison? *
3) Do you think that alternatives to imprisonment accommodates rehabilitation of offenders? *
4) Do you think that the alternatives to imprisonment reduce recidivism rates (the act of committing more crimes) more than imprisonment? *
5) Do you think that alternatives to imprisonment imply that the criminal justice system is lenient (not harsh)? *
6) Do you think alternatives to imprisonment are more suitable for young offenders (14-21 years)? *
7) Do you think that alternatives to imprisonment could be awarded to offenders aged over 21 years? *
8) Who could benefit (if any) from a community service order? (tick as many as you wish) *
Required
9) Do you think that a community service order helps in reducing the stigma that is usually attached to ex-prisoners more than a sentence to prison? *
10) For which criminal offences should a Community Service order be given? Tick accordingly *
Required
11) Who should receive a Community Service Order? Tick as many as you wish *
Required
12) Which age group do you think should receive a Community Service Order? *
13) For which criminal offences should a Probation Order be given? Tick as many as you wish *
Required
14) Who should receive a Probation Order? Tick as many as you wish *
Required
15) Which age group do you think should receive a Probation Order? *
16) For which criminal offences should a Treatment Order be given? Tick as many as you wish *
Required
17) Who should receive a Treatment Order? Tick as many as you wish *
Required
18) Which age group do you think should receive a Treatment Order? *
19) For which criminal offences should a Suspended Sentence be given? Tick as many as you wish *
Required
20) Who should receive a Suspended Sentence? Tick as many as you wish *
Required
21) Which age group do you think should receive a Suspended Sentence? *
22) For which criminal offences should a Conditional Discharge be given? Tick as many as you wish *
Required
23) Who should receive a Conditional Discharge? Tick as many as you wish *
Required
24) Which age group do you think should receive a Conditional Discharge? *
25) For which criminal offences should a Combination order be given? Tick as many as you wish *
Required
26) Who should receive a Combination Order? Tick as many as you wish *
Required
27) Which age group do you think should receive a Combination Order? *
28) Should Electronic Tagging be implemented as another alternative to Imprisonment? *
29) If yes, for which types of criminal acts? Tick as many as you wish
30) A residence in Hal Qormi collapsed while excavation works were carried out at a site next door. At the time of the collapse, there was Joanne inside her residence who was found dead underneath the rubble. Two architects were charged with negligently causing her death. They were also charged with making false statements to the authorities while one of the architects was also accused of not being present at the site where dangerous works were being carried out. The two architects were found guilty of involuntary homicide and were sentenced with a community service order.
*(This scenario is based on a real case that was committed in Malta, however, the names are changed for the reason of this questionnaire)
a) Do you agree with the sentence given? *
b) If not, what sentence do you deem fit for this case?
Clear selection
31) On 20 June 2020, a 22-year-old youth stole a Honda motorcycle together with keys, registration plates, bank credit cards and tools. He was also accused of receiving or purchasing items which had been stolen or acquired through crime, and involving himself in selling the items or passing them on. The accused was found guilty and was sentenced with a conditional discharge covering a three-year period.
*(This scenario is based on a real case that was committed in Malta, however, the names are changed for the reason of this questionnaire)
a) Do you agree with the sentence given? *
b) If not, what sentence do you deem fit for this case?
Clear selection
32) In 2017 a 26-year-old man was sent to prison after he was found guilty of sexually attacking a young woman. He tried to talk to the woman and when she ignored him he ran after her, tearing her clothes off and hitting her. The man was stopped by individuals who were passing by. In 2019, the Court of Magistrates changed the prison sentence into a suspended sentence on appeal as it was considered the fact that the man was just turning twenty, did not have a criminal record and was still young at the time of the offence.
*(This scenario is based on a real case that was committed in Malta, however, the names are changed for the reason of this questionnaire)
a) Do you think it’s justified that the prison sentence was changed into an alternative to imprisonment? *
b) If not, do you think that it should have remained a prison sentence?
Clear selection
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