Heather Schoenfeld

Dr. Heather Schoenfeld 

Heather Schoenfeld

Associate Professor

PhD, Northwestern University, 2009

Sociology 273  — 617-353-7511


Curriculum Vitae






Professor Heather Schoenfeld’s teaching and research areas include the sociology of law, crime and punishment, and public policy. Her award-winning scholarship focuses on the origins and development of mass incarceration in the United States. She is the author of Building the Prison State: Race and the Politics of Mass Incarceration (University of Chicago Press, 2018). Current projects include research funded by National Science Foundation that examines states’ efforts to reduce imprisonment; research on correctional officers’ attitudes; and research on changes in imprisonment rates. Her methodological expertise lies in historical, comparative, and case study methods. Dr. Schoenfeld holds a courtesy appointment in the Boston University School of Law and is a faculty affiliate of the Hariri Institute for Computing and the American and New England Studies Program. She teaches Introduction to Law & Society and the Sociology of Law.



Heather Schoenfeld, Building the Prison State: Race and the Politics of Mass Incarceration (University of Chicago Press, 2018). [Recipient of the American Association of State and Local History Award of Excellence, August 2019]


Peer-Reviewed Articles

Heather Schoenfeld, Rachel Durso and Kat Albrecht, “Maximizing Charges: Overcriminalization and Prosecutorial Practices During the Crime Decline,” Studies in Law, Politics and Society (edited by Austin Sarat), 2018 vol. 77, pgs. 145-179.


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


Heather Schoenfeld, “The Delayed Emergence of Penal Modernism in Florida,” Punishment & Society, 2014, vol. 16, issue 3, pgs. 258-284.


Michael Campbell and Heather Schoenfeld, “The Transformation of America’s Penal

Order: A Historicized Political Sociology of Punishment,” American Journal of Sociology, 2013 vol. 118, issue 5, pgs. 1375-1423. [Recipient of the American Sociological Association Sociology of Law Section Distinguished Article Award, August 2014]


Public Commentary

“Politics, Not Good Policy, Gave Us Florida’s Gave Us Florida’s Criminal Justice System,” Tampa Bay Times, April 30, 2019.


“Louisiana sheriff’s comments reflect more than racism,” In Justice Today, Oct. 17, 2017.


“On Race and Criminal Sentencing, Prosecutors Escape Blame,” Tampa Bay Times, March 23, 2017.


“Reforming Criminal Justice: The Real Impact of a Law and Order Administration,” The Hill, Jan. 6, 2017.