Date of Award

Summer 1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Randy Gainey

Committee Member

Garland White

Committee Member

James A. Nolan

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 W45


The purpose of this study is to investigate how extralegal factors such as race, gender, and age influence judicial sentencing decisions. This research utilizes data collected by the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission for the fiscal years of July 1989 to July 1992. For the purpose o~ this study, only data specifically relating to drug convictions were analyzed.

Multivariate analyses were conducted to see if extralegal factors were significantly related to sentence length, whether or not offenders receive a prison sanction, and whether or not offenders receive the first time offender waiver. Analysis was done using both legal and extra-legal variables. Findings revealed that both the legal and extralegal factors significantly influenced judicial sentencing decisions. Race and gender significantly influenced sentence length and whether or not an offender was sent to prison, while all three extra-legal factors were significantly related to the first time offender waiver.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).