Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Thesis

School

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine if the gender or race of the respondent had an impact in the sentencing/parole decisions of the convicted defendant. Utilizing past studies and articles, three hypotheses suggested that participants would hold police officers to a higher standard than their civilian counterparts. Also, the race/gender of the respondent influenced the sentence they provided to the defendant. Participants (n=204) were randomly assigned a police officer or non-police officer scenario where the perpetrator was plead guilty to committing intimate partner violence. They then responded with their sentence determination, parole percentage, restitution amount if any and other attributing factors such were analyzed. While there were no significant occupational differences in sentencing questions the public did perceive police officers to have less mental health difficulties and trauma than non-police officers. Additionally, a qualitative question was presented and analyzed that offered a different perspective to the results. Participants indicated that in the police officer scenario that it was “not what they should be doing” or “a higher standard”. Occupation was mentioned several times leading to a rough conclusion that police officers are held to different standards than other professions.

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