Heather Schoenfeld

Heather Schoenfeld

Assistant Professor, Human Development and Social Policy
Assistant Professor, Center for Legal Studies
Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research


Heather Schoenfeld, who holds a PhD in sociology from Northwestern University, is a sociologist of law who works at the intersection of politics, policy, race and the law. Her research focuses on systems of criminal punishment. Her studies of the origins and development of mass incarceration in the United States have been published in sociology, law and society, and law journals. In addition to completing a book manuscript about the origins of mass incarceration in Florida from 1950 to the present, Schoenfeld is currently working on a project that examines the motivations for recent state level criminal justice policy reform aimed at reducing prison populations. From 2013 to 2015, she is serving on the editorial board of Law and Social Inquiry.


Curriculum Vitae

Adobe Acrobat PDF View Heather Schoenfeld's CV.


  • 2014 - Law and Society Association Article Award Honorable Mention
  • 2014 - American Sociological Association Sociology of Law Section Distinguished Article Award
  • 2010 - Law and Society Association Dissertation Prize



Year Degree Institution
2009 PhD, Sociology Northwestern University
2004 MA, Sociology Northwestern University
1998 BA, Urban Studies Columbia University

Selected Publications

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

Schoenfeld, Heather (2014). The Delayed Emergence of Penal Modernism in Florida. Punishment & Society: 16(3): 258-284..

Campbell, Michael and Heather Schoenfeld (2013). The Transformation of America's Penal Order: A Historicized Political Sociology of Punishment. American Journal of Sociology: 118(5): 258-284.

Schoenfeld, Heather (2012). Evidence-Based Policy and the Politics of Criminal Justice Reform. Criminology & Public Policy: 10(3): 715-725.

Schoenfeld, Heather (2011). Crime or Insecurity: Who Is the State? And What Is It Responding To?. Punishment & Society: 13(4):473-479.

Schoenfeld, Heather (2010). Mass Incarceration and the Paradox of Prison Conditions Litigation. Law & Society Review: 44(3/4): 731-768.

Selected Presentations

Schoenfeld, Heather (2016). A Research Agenda on Reform: Penal Policy and Politics Across the States. Penal Boundaries Workshop: Excess, Limits and the Production of Inequality, Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto, Canada.

Schoenfeld, Heather (2014). The Diffusion of Plata and Realignment: Penal Politics and Policy across the States. Realigning California Corrections: Legacies of the Past, the Great Experiment and Trajectories for the Future (National Science Foundation sponsored conference), University of California, Irvine.

Schoenfeld, Heather (November, 2012). When Rights Collide: Equal Rights vs. Crime Victims' Rights in the Prison Build Up. Rights and Their Translation into Practice, University of Arizona (National Science Foundation sponsored conference). Tucson, AZ.

Schoenfeld, Heather (July, 2011). Racial Projects, Penal Policy, and the Rise of Mass Incarceration in the United States.

Racial Democracy, Crime & Justice-Network Summer Workshop, The Ohio State University. Columbus, OH.


Research Interests

 Law and society, race and inequality, crime and punishment, historical and comparative methods 

Last Updated: 2016-09-08 23:18:20