Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2023

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Jennie Burnet

Second Advisor

Dr. Desmond Goss

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathryn Kozaitis

Abstract

Neoliberalism alters U.S. carceral practices to extract revenue from marginalized communities. The criminal-legal system made monetary sanctions (e.g., cash bail, traffic fines, probation fees) a common practice that affects the millions of people who cycle through the system. I argue that criminal-legal debt extends punishment outside of carceral structures and creates a “revolving door” effect in which poor, racialized communities are subjected to constant incarceration. Domestic violence cases in Atlanta are a prime example of this phenomenon and illustrates the ways in which incarceration aids neoliberalism. The over policing of minority communities, and by extension the imposition of monetary sanctions, in metro-Atlanta serves to generate revenue and gentrify those neighborhoods. Through a prison abolitionist lens, this research explores the impact of criminal-legal debt in metro-Atlanta through autoethnography, interviews, and online participant observation of court.

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