Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication, Technology, and Society

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Erin Ash

Committee Member

Dr. Gregory Cranmer

Committee Member

Dr. Kristen Okamoto


Mass incarceration has disproportionately affected many people; however, Black women have been routinely dismissed from the majority of prison scholarship and are at a particular risk through harmful stereotypes that serve as justification for their imprisonment. By examining their unique stance in the prison-industrial complex, this thesis draws attention to mechanisms to generate support for these women. Under the framework of framing theory and critical media effects, this research determined whether individual attribution of responsibility frames or societal attribution of responsibility frames affect individuals’ support for anti-mass incarceration public policies. According to the results, there were no effects between Black and white exemplars, nor societal and individual responsibility frames. Additionally, controllability did not appear to mediate the relationship between frames and race on policy support; however, there was a significant direct effect between political affiliation and controllability, as well as controllability and policy support. This study not only assessed whether attributions of responsibility apply to subsets of stigmatized populations equally (e.g., incarcerated Black women versus incarcerated white women), but examined the intersectionality of race, gender, and incarceration from a critical media effects lens.

Included in

Communication Commons



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