Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
First Committee Member
Frederick W. Preston
Number of Pages
Selective incapacitation has been defined as an objective process whereby violent and/or chronic offenders are isolated and given longer prison terms. The purpose of this process is to keep these offenders out of society for longer periods of time resulting in a safer society. Couched within this utilitarian perspective is the assumption that the social sciences have developed a reputable formula from which future criminal behavior can be accurately predicted. This research, a case study of a Nevada presentence investigation unit, found that all convicted offenders are dealt with using the same criteria applied to violent and/or chronic offenders. This study employed a triangulated research strategy (participant observation, interview, document analysis, and quasi-experiment methods) which reveals that the subjective nature of social actors appears to supersede the scientifically-objective sentence recommendation guidelines. Interviews were conducted with 17 presentence investigators, which included their participation in a quasi-experiment using a scenario set with two hypothetical criminal cases. Data indicate that, inadvertently, institutional racism, sexism, classism, etc., play an active role, as proxy indicators, in the sentence recommendation process.
Decision; Domain; Makers; Nature; Objective; Policy; Processing; Sentence; Sentencing; Subjective; Sentencing
Criminology; Social sciences--Research
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Brown, William Bud, "The subjective nature of decision-makers in the domain of objective sentence processing" (1989). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2949.