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Heather Schoenfeld

Former Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Education and Social Policy

Ph.D., Northwestern University

Heather Schoenfeld (Ph.D in Sociology, Northwestern University) is a sociologist of law whose work lies at the intersection of politics, policy, race and the law. The focus of her research is on systems of criminal punishment. Her research on the origins and development of mass incarceration in the United States has been published in sociology, law and society, and law journals. She has received article prizes from the American Sociological Association and the Law and Society Association for her article (with Michael Campbell) on the “Transformation of America’s Penal Order.”  Her book on the rise of mass incarceration in Florida, Building the Prison State: Race & the Politics of Mass Incarceration, will be available from University of Chicago Press in early 2018. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of Criminology & Public Policy.

Professor Schoenfeld’s current research examines the social and political determinants of state-level reforms aimed at reducing the number of people behind bars, the costs of corrections, and recidivism rates.

Courses Taught

  • Legal_St/Sociol 206 Law and Society
  • Legal_St 376/Soc_Pol 305 Law and Social Policy
  • Legal_St 348 Race, Politics, and the Law

Selected Publications

“A Research Agenda on Reform: Penal Policy and Politics Across the States,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 664 (2016):155-175.

“The Delayed Emergence of Penal Modernism in Florida,” Punishment & Society 16 (2015):258-284.

“The Transformation of America's Penal Order: A Historicized Political Sociology of Punishment,” (with Michael Campbell) American Journal of Sociology 118 (2013):1375-1423.

 “Mass Incarceration and the Paradox of Prison Conditions Litigation,” Law & Society Review 44 (2010):731-768.

New Position

Professor Schoenfeld has taken a position at Boston University starting in Fall 2018.

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