Katherine Beckett (she/her/hers)

S. Frank Miyamoto Professor of Sociology
Chair, Department of Law, Societies and Justice
Katherine Beckett

Contact Information

Smith M260
Office Hours
Wednesdays 11-12:30 and by appointment
Joint Appointment with
Department of Law, Societies, and Justice


Ph.D., UCLA, 1994
Curriculum Vitae (178.02 KB)

Katherine Beckett is a Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Law, Societies, and Justice.  She is also a faculty affiliate of the West Coast Poverty Center and a faculty associate and steering committee member of the Center for Human Rights at the University of Washington.

Beckett received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1994. Her research analyzes the causes and consequences of changes in criminal law and punishment, with a particular focus on mass incarceration. Beckett's early research analyzed how and why crime-related issues assumed a central place on the U.S. political agenda, and why enhanced punishment was embraced as the best solution to these problems. More recent research projects have explored the consequences of penal expansion for social inequality, the role of race in drug law enforcement and capital punishment, and the transformation of urban social control practices in the United States. She is the author of numerous articles and four books on these topics. Her most recent book, Ending Mass Incarceration, was published by Oxford University Press in 2022.

Beckett's work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Allen Family Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Washington State Minority & Justice Commission, the Open Society Institute, and others. She has received numerous awards for her research, teaching and service work, including the Public Impact Award from the Consortium of Social Science Associations in 2020, the ACLU's Dorsen Presidential Prize for Lifetime Contributions to Civil Liberties and Civil Rights in 2019, and the University of Washington's Public Service Award in 2014. She was elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences in 2016. Beckett also collaborates with a number of civic partners including Collective Justice, the ACLU of Washington, and the Public Defender Association.


Selected Research

Courses Taught

Spring 2022

Additional Courses

LSJ 200: Introduction to Law, Societies & Justice

Resources & Related Links


Home Department
Professional Affiliations
Center for Human Rights, West Coast Poverty Center

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