I received my B.A. in Psychology from U.C. Berkeley in 2005. During my time in college, and later while working in New York, I became involved with a number of criminal justice non-profit organizations, including the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison, the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the Fortune Society, and the Center for Court Innovation.
In 2007, I began the Ph.D. program in Sociology and Social Policy at Princeton University. While in graduate school, I was supported by fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education. My first project in graduate school was about the decline in rehabilitative programs in prisons; I published this work in peer-reviewed interdisciplinary socio-legal journals Law & Society Review (Phelps 2011) and Journal of Criminal Justice (Phelps 2012). My dissertation explored the expansion of probation as a criminal justice sanction. I defended my dissertation, entitled The Paradox of Probation: Understanding the Expansion of an “Alternative” to Incarceration during the Prison Boom, in August 2013.
In the fall of 2013, I started as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. My work on probation was published in peer-reviewed social science journals, including Social Problems (Phelps & Ruhland 2021), Law & Policy (Phelps 2013), British Journal of Criminology (Phelps 2017), Punishment & Society (Phelps 2017), and Theoretical Criminology (Rubin & Phelps 2017). My research on contemporary criminal justice reforms was published in the Annual Review of Law and Social Science (Phelps 2016) and my book with colleagues Philip Goodman (University of Toronto) and Joshua Page (University of Minnesota), Breaking the Pendulum: The Long Struggle Over Criminal Justice, was published with Oxford University Press (2017).
In 2019, I was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor (with tenure). My current lines of research are on probation and police reform. I am currently affiliated with the Minnesota Population Center, Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, University of Minnesota Law School, and Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
You can find lots more about my published research, teaching and advice (including my *internet famous* time tracking template for tenure), recorded lectures, and media pieces by clicking on the links or tabs above.
I have a husband and two kids who I mostly keep off the internet, but you can sometimes find stories about them over at twitter.