I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with research interests in the sociology of punishment, criminal justice, inequality, and discretion. My research is unified by both an interest in how and why communities adopt different systems of punishment as well as a concern for how the criminal justice system impacts people’s lives.

My dissertation project explores prosecutorial decision-making across contexts by drawing on twelve months of ethnographic observations in two District Attorney’s offices, ~80 interviews with prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and other system actors, archival evidence, and court administrative data. Additionally, I am engaged in collaborative research projects including an interview study on families’ experiences with fines, fees, and restitution in the juvenile justice system and a quantitative analysis of the relationship between prison building and incarceration. In past work, I have explored how feminists contend with punitive approaches to gender-based violence in India. My work has appeared in Law & Social Inquiry, Violence Against Women, and other venues.

My research has been generously supported by the American Sociological Association (ASA DDRIG), the UW-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty, the UW-Madison Graduate School, and the University of Wisconsin Law School and Institute for Legal Studies.

I am a Graduate Research Fellow at the Institute for Research on Poverty, a Law and Society Graduate Fellow at the Institute for Legal Studies, and a Graduate Fellow at Justice Labs of America.

Thank you for visiting my website! Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about my research. I am always happy to discuss my research or similar topics with anyone that might have overlapping interests. You can also follow me on Twitter @chiarapack.