Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies

First Advisor

Kristie R. Blevins

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Second Advisor

Kevin I. Minor

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Third Advisor

Scott A. Hunt

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies


In his concurrence with the Supreme Court ruling in Furman v. Georgia (1972), Justice Thurgood Marshall postulated that levels of support for capital punishment are associated with the amount of knowledge about the death penalty process. He suggested that exposure to information about capital punishment produces sentiments in opposition to capital punishment except in instances for which support is based on retributive beliefs. These notions have become known as the Marshall Hypothesis and have been empirically tested among a variety of populations. The research presented in this thesis adds to that body of literature by testing these ideas among a sample of students in the College of Justice and Safety at Eastern Kentucky University. Results from a self-administered survey provide support for two of the three hypotheses originally posited by Justice Marshall. Implications of these findings are discussed and suggestions for future research are provided.