Major Department



College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2017

Honors Major Advisor

Jennifer Haylett

Thesis Mentor

Celesta Albonetti


The focus of this paper is to identify the impact and effects that defendant characteristics, Guidelines defined legally relevant variables, and process related variables have on length of imprisonment for offenders who are young. More specifically, this research looks at how the safety valve provision, spelled out in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, may condition the effect of variables on length of imprisonment by splitting the defendants up into groups based on if they qualified for the provision or not. Previous literature that has studied the effects of defendant characteristics and the safety valve provision is presented to base the current research off of. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines legalities are discussed at length and how a defendant can qualify for the safety valve provision and other judicial departures from the Guidelines. Finally, a regression analysis is conducted on the variables to see how qualifying for the safety valve provision or not conditions certain variables that affect length of imprisonment. Only two departures from the Guidelines resulted in a statistically significant difference between the two defendant groups. Suggestions for future research based on my findings are outlined as well.

Total Pages

30 pages


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