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McNair Scholars Program

Samuel Lewis, Jr.

He/him

Education: Bachelor of Science in political science (December 2009)

McNair Project: Justice or Just Us: Collegiate Perceptions of the Criminal Justice System (2009)

Mentor: Craig Stapley, Ph.D.

This research was conducted by asking the preliminary question “What are the perceptions and opinions of the criminal justice system from the college student perspective?” A survey consisting of 2 sections was distributed to 163 students. Questions from section 1 pertained to the demographics of the subjects while section 2 presented the subjects with a series of questions that were answered using a Likert Scale for the purpose of gauging opinions of the criminal justice system. Upon review of the data, results indicated that a majority of students tended to have opinions in the “neither agree or disagree” range for the initial item of whether or not the criminal justice system is fair. However, there were strong skews toward the “strongly disagree” and “disagree” range for the item “The death penalty is effective.” Conversely though, there were strong skews toward the “Strongly Agree” and “Agree” range for the issue “Racial profiling is used by law enforcement agencies.”

In the near future, another survey needs to be conducting based on the fact that the findings of this research are only indicative of .71% of Kansas State University’s total student body population. Furthermore, certain survey questions need to be reformatted in order to account for a broader array of subject responses.