Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Ronald C. Kramer

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Carlson

Third Advisor

Dr. Barry Goetz

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Don Cooney


On April 28, 2004, pictures of abuse and torture of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison by U.S. military personnel shocked many Americans. In the wake of the images, it became clear that several military personnel were involved in the acts of torture and abuse. This dissertation explores the interconnections of larger structural factors, state policies, and individual actors in an attempt to understand how and why torture and abuse occurred at Abu Ghraib. It builds upon an integrated theoretical model of state and corporate crime. The dissertation revises this model so that it can better address the complexities o f state crime within the international arena. The findings suggest that despite unequivocal individual responsibility, this was not simply a case of a few individual acts committed by rogue soldiers. Rather, a thorough investigation and criminological analysis o f the reasons and forces behind the torture at Abu Ghraib suggest that the Executive Branch, the Pentagon, CIA, and Military Commanders bear culpability for the way in which their policies and demands for intelligence altered the traditional handling of prisoners.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access