Original document was submitted as an honors thesis requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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The United States of America incarcerates more individuals than any other nation in the world. Therefore, the United States has one of the most active correctional systems and it is imperative to examine the system thoroughly. Generally speaking, there have been 3 accepted models of the correctional system since the 1940’s: custodial, rehabilitation, and reintegration. Although it is possible to find institutions that subscribe to each of these models respectively, the custodial model is the most common in the United States. Therefore, this study seeks to examine college students’ perception of crime, in order to help explain why the general public supports the custodial model of the corrections system. More specifically, this study will examine the perceptions of crime that Pace University’s undergraduate students have, in an attempt to compare the perceptions of criminal justice majors to those of non-criminal justice majors. The hypothesis of the study is that criminal justice majors are more likely to hold punitive viewpoints of the corrections system and crime in general, and that they are more likely to agree with the characteristics that are similar to the custodial/crime control model. This study consists of a sample size of 70 respondents; 17 are criminal justice majors and 53 are non-criminal justice majors. The data shows that there were no differences in level of punitiveness among the students, regardless of major. This study is important because it collects a representative sample of the views of individuals who will soon be professionals in the field.