Research on bail practices has shown that most of the people are in jail because of their inability to pay bail set by the court. A 2016 study by the Vera Institute of Justice concluded that the use of the cash bail system disproportionately impacts poor black people in Orleans Parish Prison, the entity that serves as the principal driver of the mass incarceration. With a focus on poor black people in Orleans Parish Prison, the experiences of the impact of the cash bail system on poor black women are still missing.

Using semi-structured interviews and qualitative method of data analysis, this research draws from critical criminology, feminist criminology, and intersectionality theory to examine ways in which the current cash bail system criminalizes poor black women in Orleans Parish. This research has explored actions taken to address the exploitation by the local courts and bail bond agencies. It has also discussed how the intersection of race, gender, and class increases the vulnerability of those already marginalized. Further, I have analyzed through participants' experiences of how they have been impacted economically and socially by the cash bail system. This study found that there is a direct relationship between the bail amount, economic situation, and the length of stay of black women in jail. Additionally, participants reported the following as some of the consequences of incarceration due to their inability to post the required bail: loss of jobs, loss of government benefits, and family dis-unification.


Ana Perez

Committee Member

Shannon Miller

Committee Member

Barbara Carson

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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