Month/Year of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)



First Advisor

Dr. Rose Strasser


The maintenance of prosocial relationships has been strongly connected to criminal desistance among past offenders. The opinions held by the community shape the prejudice often encountered by those with a criminal record. To promote desistance, we must understand how criminals and their abilities are considered by the public. In this study, 69 college students were surveyed about the United States prison and parole system in conjunction with Dweck’s mindset theory. Along with explicit questions, an Implicit Associations Test (IAT) was employed to measure unconscious associations between mentality and punishment preference. The IAT revealed that traits of a growth mindset were paired faster with parole than prison. Additionally, a significant positive correlation between traits of a fixed mindset and a preference for prison was observed. These findings suggest that a growth mindset may cultivate positive opinions on restorative justice. As we continue to improve the United States prison system, an effort to increase growth mindset ideology may lead to less discrimination and higher rates of criminal desistance.