Incarceration Beliefs

correlation for *each* participant in our research. An average Pearson *r* statistic was then calculated.

The average of all such correlations was *r*= .27, with a standard deviation of .39.

We performed a frequency analysis of how many participants had correlations under .25, how

many fell between .25 and .39, and how many were equal to or over .40. One hundred fifty-three

participants (48 percent of our sample) had correlations under .25. Forty-seven participants (14.7%)

had correlations that fell between .25 and .39. One hundred nineteen (37.3%) participants had

correlations over .40. Twenty-seven participants had missing data and were therefore not included in

this analysis. On average, roughly 52% of our participants can best be described as holding individual

beliefs that correspond to reality to a moderate or high degree

*Implied Beliefs about Incarceration Rates*

The estimates provided by our respondents can be used to construct implicit estimates of

incarceration rates across groups in the population. In this paper, we use the term “incarceration

rate” to refer to the proportion of people in a population who are in jail or prison. Our survey did not

directly ask people to estimate incarceration rates for each of the separate social and demographic

groups. Nonetheless, the information that our participants did provide logically dictates an implied

perceived incarceration rate. For example, on average, our samples believed that 22.09% of the U.S.

population was incarcerated, that 52.17% of the population is female, and that 22.79% of the prison

population is female. If all of these things are true, it implies that:

Step 1: 22.79% of 22.09% = the proportion of the U.S. population that is incarcerated females

= 5.03%.

Step 2: 5.03%/52.17% = 9.65% = implied perceived incarceration rate for females (i.e.,

implicitly, people believe that 9.65% of all the women in the U.S. are in jail; the implied

incarceration rate for women is the perceived proportion of the U.S. population that are female

prisoners divided by the perceived proportion of the U.S. population that is female).

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