Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Interdisciplinary Studies

First Advisor

Steve Hilkowitz


Being able to seize property without a criminal conviction has become a hot button topic in periodical and academic papers. The Civil Asset Forfeiture program gave law enforcement the ability to seize “guilty” property, which can be defined as contraband, proceeds from criminal activity, or tools and instrumentalities used in the commission of a crime, without a criminal conviction on the part of the owner. Numerous academic authors and journalists have called for reform, racial unfairness, and targeting of lower earning communities. However, the majority of data regarding the Civil Asset Forfeiture program is qualitative in nature with few quantitative data sets existing. This paper not only examines and critiques current literature but also looks to utilize available economic, census, traffic, and crime data to prove that the Civil Asset Forfeiture program is not being used for what it was originally intended as well as minority and lower earning individuals being more susceptible and likely to have their assets seized.