Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture featuring Alexes Harris, associate professor, Department of Sociology

TIME: Thurs 6:30PM-7:30PM

PLACE: Kane 110

The Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture is dedicated to acknowledging the work of our faculty by spotlighting research focusing on diversity and social justice.

Alexes Harris, Ph.D.

Alexes Harris will present the 2012 Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture. Dr. Harris is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington. Her degrees in the field of sociology are from the University of Washington (B.A., 1997) and the University of California, Los Angeles (M.A., 1999; Ph.D., 2002).  Her research and teaching interests are in social stratification and inequality, the juvenile and criminal justice system, race and ethnicity, and qualitative research methods.  She has authored and co-authored research articles in journals including the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, Law and Society Review, the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, and Race and Society.  Dr. Harris is currently developing a book manuscript that investigates the imposition of monetary sanctions to persons convicted of felony offenses in the United States and specifically in Washington state. She was recently honored by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education as one of the magazine’s top “Under 40” scholars from around the country who are making their mark through teaching, research, and service.

Lecture Topic

The U.S. Criminal Justice System:
Race, Poverty and Permanent Punishments

Alexes Harris’ research investigates the use of monetary sanctions or legal financial obligations (LFOs) (fines, fees, restitution and surcharges) as criminal sentences in the United States. More specifically, she is examining the assessment, collections and sanctioning processes related to LFOs in Washington state. Dr. Harris uses data compiled from the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission, 90 interviews with felony defendants, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, clerks and State legislators, and over 100 observations of sentencing and violation hearings in five Washington state counties (King, Pierce, Clark, Yakima and Spokane). The analysis outlines the strikingly different ways counties conduct assessments and collections of felony defendants (using the same mandate from the Washington state code) and the variety of consequences (e.g., re-incarceration, long-term debt, continue criminal justice surveillance) related to this sentencing practice. Dr. Harris is currently writing a book manuscript on the use and consequences of monetary sanctions in the United States, using Washington as a case study.

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