Shirin Bakhshay

Assistant Professor of Law

Shirin Bakhshay is Assistant Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law and teaches courses on criminal law and psychology and law. Her scholarship employs legal analysis, social psychological theory and empirical methods to examine criminal adjudication and punishment processes, their outcomes, and the implications for sentencing law and penal policy. Prior to joining the UCLA law faculty, Professor Bakhshay was a Thomas C. Grey Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School.

Professor Bakhshay earned her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, her J.D. from Yale Law School, and her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to entering legal academia, Professor Bakhshay practiced law at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where she litigated a variety of matters, focusing on white collar criminal defense, pro bono criminal habeas appeals, and prisoners’ rights cases.

Professor Bakhshay’s publications have appeared or are forthcoming in the Georgetown Law Journal, Psychology, Public Policy & Law, and The Prison Journal among others.


  • Publications
    • The Dissociative Theory of Punishment, 111 Geo. L. J. 1251 (2023). Full Text
    • The Media’s Impact on the Right to a Fair Trial: A Content Analysis of Pretrial Publicity (with Craig Haney), Pshychol. Pub. Pol'y & L. (2018). Full Text
    • Contexts of Ill-Treatment: The Relationship of Captivity and Prison Confinement to CIDT and Torture (with Craig Haney), in Torture and its Definition in International Law: An Inter-Disciplinary Approach 139-178 (edited by Metin Bașoğlu, Oxford University Press, 2017). Full Text
    • Examining Jail Isolation: What We Don’t Know Can Be Profoundly Harmful (with Craig Haney, Joanna Weill and Tiffany Lockett), 96 The Prison Journal 126 (2016). SSRN | Full Text
  • Works In Progress
    • Reckoning with Restorative Justice.
    • (with Joanna Weill and Craig Haney), in Social Distance, Public Attitudes, and Prison Reform.
    • (with Mona Lynch and Craig Haney), in The Language of Condemnation and Mercy: A Content Analysis of Capital Jury Deliberations.