Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

William Burger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Debra S. Kelley, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kenneth B. Perkins, Ph.D.


The purpose of this thesis is to apply and extend the Weberian and Ritzerian typologies of formal rationality and “McDonaldization” to explain the development of Virginia’s sentencing guidelines system, recent changes in probation and parole policies, and changes in Virginia’s corrections laws. The theories of formal rationality and bureaucracy were utilized in a qualitative methodological approach. The present research suggested that the previously mentioned developments and changes were not a repudiation of earlier rehabilitative models nor were they an effort to move toward punitive correctional models. Rather, the changes were implicitly rationalized or “McDonaldized” the affected systems and procedures.



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