Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Joan Krenzin, Lynn Newhart, Edward Bohlander

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The purpose of this study was to determine the attitudes and opinions of circuit court judges in Kentucky concerning the issue of pregnancy and substance abuse. A questionnaire was mailed to all 90 circuit court judges in Kentucky. The questionnaire, consisting of both a Likert scale and open-ended questions, dealt with concerns relating to the criminalization of pregnant substance abusers, fetal rights, state intervention in the case of pregnant substance abusers, and mothers rights. The ages of the judges, as well as their years of experience on the bench, were used to determine their attitudes on these issues. Results showed that older judges and more experienced judges were more likely to favor criminalization of pregnant substance abusers. Younger judges and less experienced judges, however, were less likely to favor criminalization of pregnant substance abusers.


Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Health Policy | Legal Studies | Public Administration | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology