Michelle S. Phelps


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. My research is in the sociology of punishment, focusing in particular on the punitive turn in the U.S. through the lenses of policing, probation, and prisons. Recent work from these projects has been published in interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journals, including American Journal of Sociology (Phelps, Robertson, & Powell 2021), Sociology of Race & Ethnicity (Phelps & Hamilton 2021), Social Problems (Phelps & Ruhland 2022),  Mobilization (Phelps, Ward, & Frazier 2021), Law & Society Review (Powell & Phelps 2021), Law & Social Inquiry (Piehowski & Phelps 2023), and Annual Review of Criminology (Phelps 2020).

Together with Philip Goodman (University of Toronto) and Joshua Page (University of Minnesota), I am the author of Breaking the Pendulum: The Long Struggle Over Criminal Justice (Oxford, 2017), which traces the history of U.S. criminal justice reforms from the birth of the penitentiary to contemporary struggles to end mass incarceration. My second book,  The Minneapolis Reckoning: Race, Violence, and the Politics of Policing in America, will come out in May 2024.

To learn more, you can view my C.V. or Biography or click on the tabs above for Research, Media & Other Writing, and Teaching. I'm also on twitter and Google Scholar

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*If you don't have library access, email me (phelps@umn.edu) for copies of articles behind paywalls.

Banner Image Photo Credit: Chad Davis