An Evaluation of Washington State's First-Time Offender Waiver (FTOW)

Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Randy Gainey

Committee Member

Brian K. Payne

Committee Member

James A. Nolan

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 G35 2001


Considering the current staggering number of people under various forms of government supervision, reducing recidivism is a serious concern of the criminal justice system. A possible solution to this problem may lie in intensive supervision programs (ISPs) that were implemented in every state by 1990. This thesis evaluates Washington State's First-Time Offender Waiver (FTOW) to determine whether it is a viable alternative to prison for eligible nonviolent offenders. Specifically, I want to know: (1) Is there is a bias in who is sentenced with FTOW based on demographic variables? (2) Do FTOW recipients recidivate more or less compared to eligible non-FTOW offenders? (3) Of the offenders who do recidivate, do certain groups recidivate more than others? (4) Of the FTOW offenders who recidivate, is their second felony conviction for a more serious crime compared to the initial conviction versus eligible non-FTOW offenders?

Analyses revealed two important findings. First, the odds that offenders receiving FTOW would recidivate was less than other eligible offenders. Second, the odds of committing a more serious crime was less likely with offenders who were given FTOW compared to offenders who were not given FTOW. Implications of the results are discussed.


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