Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Bielenberg, N. 2020. Racial Bias and the Death Penalty in Nebraska (2005-2019). Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Natalie Bielenberg 2020.


Ample evidence exists to suggest that the death penalty in the United States is affected by racial bias. Nebraska has a complex history with the death penalty, and in this study I investigate whether or not that racial bias is present in Nebraska’s capital punishment. Using a list of every Nebraska Department of Correctional Services inmate since 1982, I test for a relationship between race of inmate and sentencing outcome and a relationship between race of victim and sentencing outcome. No significant relationship was found between either race of inmate and receiving the death penalty nor race of victim and receiving the death penalty. Continued research in this area is necessary to determine whether or not racial bias can truly be ruled out of the administration of the death penalty in Nebraska.