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. My primary lines of ongoing research are on mass probation, criminal justice transformation, and policing.

This work has been published in interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journals, including American Journal of Sociology (Phelps, Robertson, & Powell 2021), Mobilization (Phelps, Ward, & Frazier 2021), Sociology of Race & Ethnicity (Phelps & Hamilton 2021), Social Problems (Phelps & Ruhland 2021), Annual Review of Criminology (Phelps 2020), ANNALS (Phelps & Pager 2016), Law & Society Review (Phelps 2011), British Journal of Criminology (Phelps 2017), Punishment & Society (Phelps 2017), Theoretical Criminology (Rubin & Phelps 2017; Goodman, Page, & Phelps 2015), Annual Review of Law and Social Science (Phelps 2016), and Law & Policy (Phelps 2013).*

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. I'm currently working on a second book tentatively entitled Policing the Progressive City: Race, Violence, and the Future of Public Safety in Minneapolis.

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,

Thanks for visiting!


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

Banner Image Photo Credit: Chad Davis