Faculty Profiles

Sharon Dolovich

Sharon Dolovich

Professor of Law
Faculty Director, UCLA Prison Law & Policy Program
B.A. Queen's University, 1989
Ph.D. Pol. Theory, Cambridge University, 1994
J.D. Harvard, 1998
UCLA Faculty Since 2000

Professor Dolovich is a leading expert on the law, policy and theory of prisons and punishment, and teaches courses on criminal law, the constitutional law of prisons, and other post-conviction topics. Recent publications include “Forms of Deference in Prison Law,” 24 Federal Sentencing Reporter 245 (2012), “Exclusion and Control in the Carceral State,” 16 Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law 259 (2011), and “Cruelty, Prison Conditions and the Eighth Amendment,” 84 N.Y.U. Law Review 884 (2009).

Professor Dolovich has been a visiting professor at NYU, Harvard, and Georgetown, and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She recently served as Deputy General Counsel for the Los Angeles Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence, which was charged with investigating use of force in the L.A. County Jail and making recommendations for institutional reform. She served as a consultant during the settlement phase of Johnson v. California, 543 U.S. 499 (2005) (the U.S. Supreme Court case concerning racial segregation in the California prisons), and as an expert witness in a challenge to the policy of racially segregated lockdown in the California prisons. She has testified before both the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons and the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission.

Professor Dolovich has conducted a landmark empirical study of the LA County Jail’s practice of segregating vulnerable prisoners for their own protection. The first article growing out of this research, “Strategic Segregation in the Modern Prison,” 48 American Criminal Law Review 1 (2011), received the Ezekiel Webber Prize and a 2012 Dukeminier Award. The second, “Two Models of the Prison: Accidental Humanity and Hypermasculinity in the L.A. County Jail,” appears in volume 102 of the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. Among other projects, Professor Dolovich is currently focused on a critical examination of Eighth Amendment doctrine as it applies to prison sentences and prison conditions. Works in progress include “Eighth Amendment Decency” and “Some Puzzles about Eighth Amendment Deliberate Indifference.”

Other major articles include “State Punishment and Private Prisons,” 55 Duke L. J. 437 (2005), and “Legitimate Punishment in Liberal Democracy,” 7 Buff. Crim. L. Rev. 307 (2004). The latter was selected for the 2004 Stanford-Yale Junior Faculty Forum as the best article in both criminal law and jurisprudence & philosophy, the first article ever to be selected in two categories. In 2005, she was honored by the Cornell University Program on Ethics and Public Life with its Young Scholar Award.

Professor Dolovich has also written in the field of legal ethics. Her article, “Ethical Lawyering and the Possibility of Integrity," appeared in volume 70 in the Fordham Law Review.

To listen to Professor Dolovich discuss the phenomenon of “pay-to-stay” jails and prisons on NPR’s All Things Considered, click here: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=215219732&m=215219727

To see Professor Dolovich discuss the safety implications of the landmark Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Plata, click here: http://youtu.be/rU6dGBoAjX4

Teaching Prison Law,” Professor Dolovich’s 2012 essay in the Journal of Legal Education, which argues that prison law and other post-conviction topics should be a standard component of the criminal law education of future prosecutors, defense counsel and judges alike.

Click here to read Professor Dolovich's recent interview about the future of the California prisons, published in Boom: A Journal of California.