Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level



Sociology and Criminal Justice


Jeffrey Gruenewald

Committee Member

Grant Drawve

Second Committee Member

Christopher Shields


Terrorism, American Terrorism


The purpose of the current study is to investigate the effects of legislation changes on how terrorists are adjudicated in American federal courts. The overarching question is: how have prosecutorial and sentencing outcomes changed in response to homeland security policy shifts over the last few decades? The project examines the impact of policy on changes to terrorists’ sentencing in three time periods, marked by three major events: The 1993 World Trade Center Attack, the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing, and the attack on the Twin Towers (9/11/2001). In addition to terrorists’ demographic and background attributes (i.e., gender, age, terrorism category), the following sentencing variables were examined: USC Chapter codes, sentence length, count resolution and case resolution. Data were retrieved from the American Terrorism Study (ATS) and used to explore potential changes. The results support expectations that there has been a change to the prosecution and sentencing of terrorism across the last several decades.