Freed Without Freedom: Surveillance and Citizenship for People on Pretrial Release


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Much scholarship has been devoted to the harmful consequences of the criminal legal system, but there is relatively little information about the harms of surveillance and control mechanisms enforced during the pretrial stage. As such, this project considers the experience of pretrial release, and how this stage in the criminal legal system is stratified based on social factors like race, gender, sexuality, and class. By utilizing both ethnographic observations and 57 interviews with people on pretrial release, the findings illustrate how pretrial surveillance limits citizenship rights even without conviction or incarceration, showing that people on pretrial release are burdened by processes and factors including racist judicial discretion, overly burdensome court appearances, and house arrest.