This capstone project aims to identify gaps in the criminal justice literature by examining how the criminal justice system interacts with demographic groups that have been historically overlooked in traditional criminal justice studies, specifically Asian Americans as a racial/ethnic group and LGBTQIA+ individuals of any race or gender identity.
An overarching narrative and finding in the first two sections of the following project is how constructed identities construct narratives and policies. Importantly, the constructed identities are most often assigned by those in power to Asian Americans or LGBTQIA+ people, rather than created for themselves by in-group members, and then become a shorthand lens through which those in power view those groups. Some constructed identities examined here are the stereotypes of Asian Americans as simultaneously “model minority” and “yellow peril”, and the uniquely queer criminalizing archetypes that follow LGBTQIA+ community.
The third section of the project examines how the current state laws and policies regarding criminal justice, nondiscrimination, and healthcare affect LGBTQIA+ individuals, and how their ability to exist as a member of society may be curtailed simply by the state in which they reside.
This project found that these two groups face issues unique to their demographic that are often lost under the aggregate “other” category so often seen in criminal justice studies. There are many areas left unexplored, such as the pathways to crime for LGBTQIA+ people, and the role that the pressure of the model minority stereotype plays on Asian American criminality. By studying these demographics and understanding the full picture of the impact of the criminal justice system, more comprehensive and inclusive reforms can be made to benefit the whole of both the system and society.
Criminal Justice (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Department of Criminal Justice (CLA)
Hum, Ashley, "Falling Through the Cracks: Two Understudied Populations in the Criminal Justice System" (2022). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus