Assistant Professor of Criminology, Law & Society and Law

Ph.D., J.D., University of California, Berkeley; M.A., John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)
(949) 824-9201
3373 SEII



prisons, legal history, criminal justice policy, criminal and civil rights law, law and society

Keramet Reiter studies prisons, prisoners' rights, and the impact of prison and punishment policy on individuals, communities, and legal systems.  She uses a variety of methods in her work -- including interviewing, archival and legal analysis, and quantitative data analysis -- in order to understand both the history and impact of criminal justice policies, from medical experimentation on prisoners and record clearing programs to the use of long-term solitary confinement in the United States.

Selected Publications:


Reiter, K. (forthcoming, October 2016). 23/7Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary​ Confinement. (New Haven: Yale University Press). Pre-order it here!

Reiter, K. & A. Koenig, eds. (2015). Extreme Punishment: Comparative Studies in Detention, Incarceration and Solitary Confinement. (New York: Palgrave MacMillan). Order it here!

Articles & Book Chapters

Reiter, K. (2016). “Reclaiming the Power to Punish: Legislating & Administrating the California Supermax, 1982-1989,” Law and Society Review, Vol. 50.2: 484-518.

Barragan, M., N. Sherman, K. Reiter & G. Tita (2016). “’Damned if you do, damned if you don’t’: Perceptions of guns, safety and legitimacy among detained gun offenders,” Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 43.1: 140-55.

Reiter, K. (2015). “Domains of Policy: Law & Society Perspectives on Punishment and Social Control,” in the Law & Society Handbook, Austin Sarat and Patricia Ewick, eds. (Wiley-Blackwell).

Reiter, K. & T. Blair (2015). “Punishing Mental Illness: Trans-Institutionalization and Solitary Confinement in the United States,” in Extreme Punishment: Comparative Studies in Detention, Incarceration, and Solitary Confinement, Keramet Reiter and Alexa Koenig, eds. (Palgrave).

Reiter, K (2015). "Supermax Administration and the Eighth Amendment: Discretion, Deference, and Double-Bunking, 1986-2010," University of California Irvine Law Review, Vol. 5.1: 89-152.

Reiter, K. & N. Pifer (2015). “Brown v. Plata,” Oxford Handbooks Online in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Michael Tonry, ed. (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2015), DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935383.013.113.

Reiter, K (2014). "The Supermax Prison: A Blunt Means of Control, or a Subtle Form of Violence?Radical Philosophy Review, Vol. 17.2: 457-75. [Please e-mail author if you would like a pdf of this article.]

Reiter, K (2014). “No Data, No Change: Bringing Prisons out of Hiding,” in The Politics of Abolition Revisited, by Thomas Mathiesen (New York: Routledge Press): 314-20.

Reiter, K (2014). "The Pelican Bay Hunger Strike: Resistance within the Structural Constraints of a U.S. Supermax Prison," South Atlantic Quarterly, Vol. 113.3: 579-611. [Please e-mail author if you would like a pdf of this article.]

Reiter, K (2014). "Making Windows in Walls: Strategies for Prison Research,” Qualitative Inquiry, Vol. 20.4: 417-28 (April). [Please e-mail author if you would like a pdf of this article.]

Reiterk, K (2014). “Punitive Contrasts: United States vs. Denmark – A Socio-Legal Comparison of Two Prison Systems,” in The Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Annual: Global Perspectives, Larry Sullivan, ed., Vol 6/1 (Brooklyn, NY: AMS Press, Inc.): 139-76 .

Reiter, K. (2013). “The Origins of and Need to Control Supermax Prisons.” California Journal of Politics and Policy, Vol. 5.2: 146-167. [Please e-mail author if you would like a pdf of this article.]

Reiter, K. (2012). “Parole, Snitch, or Die: California’s Supermax Prisons and Prisoners, 1987-2007.” Punishment & Society, Vol. 14.5: 530-63. [Please e-mail author if you would like a pdf of this article.]

Reiter, K. (2012). “The Most Restrictive Alternative: A Litigation History of Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons, 1960-2006.” Studies in Law, Politics and Society, Vol. 57: 69-123. [Please e-mail author if you would like a pdf of this article.]

Obasogie, O. & Reiter, K. (2011). “Prisoners as Human Subjects: Putting the Ethical Question in Context.” Bioethics, Vol. 25.1: 55-56.

Reiter, K. (2009). “Experimentation on Prisoners: Persistent Dilemmas in Rights and Regulations.” California Law Review, Vol. 97.2: 501-566.

Reiter, K. & Fellner, J. (2006). Cruel and Degrading: The Use of Dogs for Cell Extractions in U.S. Prisons (A Human Rights Watch Report).

Commentaries & Testimonies

Reiter, K. (2016). "Review of David Skarbek’s The Social Order of the Underworld,” American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 121.6: 1966-68.

Reiter, K., L. Sexton, & J. Sumner (2016). Denmark doesn’t treat its prisoners like prisoners — and it’s good for everyoneWashington Post, Feb. 2.

Reiter, K. (2015). “(Un)Settling Solitary in California,” Social Justice, Sept. 28.

Blair, T. & K. Reiter (2015). “Solitary Confinement and Mental Illness: Ethical Challenges for Clinicians; in response to Glowa-Kollisch et al,” Health and Human Rights Journal (December), online as of July:

Reiter, K., J. Selbin, & E. Hersh (2014). "Op-Ed: Should a shoplifting conviction be an indelible scarlet letter? Not in California." Los Angeles Times, Dec. 29: A-13. 

Reiter, K (2014). "Spirituality in Dark Places: The Ethics of Solitary Confinement" (Review of book by Derek Jeffreys), Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books (Sept.).

Reiter, K (2013). "From the Hyper-local to the Supra-global: Review of the Globalization of Supermax Prisons" (Jeffrey Ian Ross, ed.), Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 60.4 (Nov.).

Reiter, K (2013). "Watching Herman's House." PBS: Documentaries with a Point of View, Jul. 8.

Reiter, K. (2012). “Statement before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, June 15, 2012,” Hearing on Solitary Confinement (Jun. 19).


Last updated: Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 8:58am