« All Events

  • This event has passed.

CSLS Speaker Series – “Bounding Knowledge: The Role of Correctional Experts in Prison Reform Litigation”

Monday, March 11, 2024 @ 12:15 pm - 2:00 pm

Featuring Keramet Reiter, Professor of Criminology and Law & Society, UC Irvine

In this paper, I analyze a corpus of dueling expert reports filed in ten separate class action cases challenging the constitutionality of solitary confinement conditions in prisons in the United States and Canada over the last ten years. Civil rights lawyers initiated the first such case, Ashker v. Governor of California, in 2013, on behalf of a class of 500 prisoners, who had been in long-term solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison in northern California for ten years or more, continuously. In Ashker and subsequent cases, both academic criminologists and corrections professionals have played, through the vehicle of expert reports and testimony, surprising roles in shaping not just solitary confinement litigation, but prison reform litigation more broadly. I argue that regressive (nominally resisting reform) academic experts perpetually repackage and reinforce rehabilitative ideals, while progressive (nominally supporting reform) correctional experts play a legitimizing, but constraining, role in reform. More broadly, regressive academic experts and progressive correctional experts, together, re-shape how knowledge about prison is both produced and understood, through critiques of both research methods and ethics. This contributes to a literature on expertise conflicts in socio-legal studies, complicating narratives about expertise ecosystems developed in the policing context, and describing and analyzing a new expertise ecosystem in prison policy and litigation.

Cosponsored with the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

Reception: Lunch 12:15-12:45p.m. in the Kadish Library
Program: 12:45-2:00p.m. in the Philip Selznick Seminar Room

Register here for the livestream via Zoom.    
Add this event to your Google Calendar. 

If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) to fully participate in this event, please contact csls@law.berkeley.edu with as much advance notice as possible and at least 7-10 days in advance of the event.


Monday, March 11, 2024
12:15 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:
Will participants be asked to keep cameras on?
Will there be breakout rooms?
Will the public chat be on or off?


Philip Selznick Seminar Room
2240 Piedmont Ave
Berkeley, CA 94720-2150 United States


Center for the Study of Law and Society

Events are wheelchair accessible. For disability-related accommodations, contact the organizer of the event. Advance notice is kindly requested.

If you have any photos or video from your event that you’d like to share with Berkeley Law for possible use in our digital and print marketing, please email communications@law.berkeley.edu.

Interested in subscribing to a weekly email digest of Berkeley Law events? Learn more here.