Publication Date

Fall 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies


Alessandro De Giorgi


criminology, mass incarceration, pay to stay, prison economics, prison industry, prison policy

Subject Areas

Criminology; Social research


Many California cities have recently implemented pay-to-stay jail programs at the local level. Pay-to-stay programs provide a safe and private incarceration experience for those who can afford the nightly fee. This study provides a theoretical analysis of the pay-to-stay jail program in relation to mass incarceration and the ever-expanding prison economy. It examines pay-to-stay programs as a new method of stratified punishment, reproducing race and class oppression within the U.S. penal regime. A case study of the Fremont pay-to-stay program offers insight into the implementation, operation, and application process for inmates seeking segregation from general county jail populations. This study concludes that pay-to-stay creates a two-tiered jail system—separating the deserving from the undeserving—and promotes disproportionate treatment within the criminal justice system.