Natalie Pifer, J.D./Ph.D.

I have been an Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Rhode Island since 2017. 

My research focuses on criminal justice policy, practice, and reform. I am especially interested in analyzing what factors facilitate or frustrate ostensibly progressive reforms and what those answers can reveal about society.  My work looks at these questions in the context of policing (e.g. specialty units focused on mental illness),  punishment (e.g. the death penalty), and prisons (e.g. solitary confinement). As a J.D./Ph.D., my work utilizes both legal analysis and empirical social science methods to study the possibilities and realities of law and policy. Disciplinary, I situate my scholarship in criminological, sociolegal, and public health conversations.   

Recent Publications


Triaged out of Care: How Carceral Logics Complicate a 'Course of Care' in Solitary Confinement


Melissa Barragan, Gabriela Gonzalez, Justin Donald Strong, Dallas Augustine, Kelsie Chesnut, Keramet Reiter, Natalie A. Pifer


Healthcare, vol. 10, 2022



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