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Katherine Beckett

Department Chair, Professor, LSJ/Sociology

Contact Information

(206) 543-4461
Smith M260
Office Hours: 
Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:00 pm, By appointment


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

Professor Beckett’s research analyzes the causes and consequences of legal changes and penal practices. Some of her recent research projects have explored the consequences of criminal justice expansion for social inequality, the role of race in drug law enforcement, the assessment of fees and fines, and the imposition of the death penalty, the transformation of urban social control practices in the United States. She is the author of numerous articles and three books on these topics, including, most recently, Banished: The New Social Control in Urban America, published in 2010 by Oxford University Press, co-authored with Steve Herbert, and a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Book Award.

Professor Beckett has worked closely with a number of civic organizations, including the Racial Disparity Project and Columbia Legal Services. She recently conducted research in partnership with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as well as the Northwest Defender’s Association.

Professor 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 University of Washington’s Public Service Award. She was elected to membership in the Washington State Academy of Sciences in 2016.


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