Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies

First Advisor

David C. May

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies


A large body of research exists that examines the punitiveness of prison compared to a wide variety of alternative sanctions. Generally, this research finds that there are numerous demographic and contextual differences in the way that people experience the punitiveness of prison. In this paper, I expand that research by using data from over 900 inmates to examine whether they view military service as more punitive than incarceration.

The research suggests females, Blacks, and those who have not had prior military service are more likely to desire imprisonment as opposed to military service. However, Whites and veterans appear to embrace the idea of military service as an alternative to imprisonment. The practicality of using military service as opposed to incarceration is also discussed.