Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name


Department (Legacy)

Department of Justice Administration

Committee Chair

Tewksbury, Richard

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Schroeder, Ryan

Committee Member

Vito, Gennaro


Capital punishment--United States--Public opinion; Sex offenders--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States


For many years scholars have quested to determine public support for the death penalty while achieving varying degrees of accuracy. Some studies have asked respondents to rate their level of agreement with the imposition of the death penalty for the crime of murder while others simply ask respondents if they agree with the use of the death penalty at all. The purpose of this thesis is to challenge oversimplification of death penalty polls while testing citizens’ willingness to impose the death penalty for the crime of child rape. Two surveys were administered, one survey with statements of five different crimes of child rape without aggravating factors, the second survey with aggravating factors. Results from these surveys were analyzed against demographics for trends in sentencing selections. The main goal of this research is to further the studies on the national consensus on capital child rape statutes.