Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Robert G Wahler

Committee Members

Deborah R. Baldwin, Wesley Morgan


In this study a survey for assessing gender bias in the juvenile correctional system is developed. Previous efforts examined the juvenile correctional system and found it to be gender biased. This new survey provides an updated view of the system and measures current perceptions of juvenile corrections from those within and outside of the system. Perceptions are investigated among court officers within the juvenile correctional systems of Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis, Tennessee and undergraduate students of the University of Tennessee. Through analysis, crimes are split into four categories of violent, lawbreaking, sex, and drugs. It is found that most crimes are perceived to be equilaterally severe for both court officers and undergraduates. The exception to this is with sex crimes. For female juveniles who commit sex crimes, males and females, in general, perceive the situation similarly in regards to severity. For the male offender guilty of sex crimes, male raters perceive the situation to be less serious than for females. These findings support the hypothesis of a persisting gender bias in the juvenile corrections system.

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