Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies

First Advisor

Judah Schept

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Second Advisor

Kristie R. Blevins

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Third Advisor

William McClanahan

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies


The purpose of this study is to examine historical and social patterns of audism, as expressed through criminal justice institutions, within local communities in central Kentucky. Previous research has pointed to patterns of discrimination by surveying either police or deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) people. By conducting research with members of both populations, the present study is able to explore the respective experiences and opinions on various topics, including knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), criminal justice policy and procedure, and the interaction techniques utilized by law enforcement. Themes and patterns emerge showing the disconnect between a marginalized group and those who are sworn to protect them. By providing a rich foundation of Deaf History, this study emerges as a Deaf-focused project intent on compiling evidence of society's deeply rooted audism and its expressions through the acts of the police. By offering a unique perspective rarely seen in criminology, the study also aims to contribute to necessary academic, cultural, and policy changes