I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and I am on the job market this fall 2023.

My research interests are in the sociology of punishment, law and society, criminalization of poverty, and inequality. My work is motivated by a concern for how systems of punishment can exacerbate race and class inequalities and further marginalize vulnerable groups. I have published work in Law & Social Inquiry, Violence Against Women, and other venues.

My dissertation turns the scholarly gaze upwards, to one of the most powerful, yet understudied, actors in the criminal legal system: prosecutors. I spent twelve months conducting ethnographic fieldwork in two mid-sized Midwestern District Attorney’s offices, shadowing prosecutors to understand how they make decisions about charging, plea-bargaining, and sentencing recommendations. I triangulated evidence by drawing on a variety of data sources in addition to observations, including interviews, court records, and other archival evidence.

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. One of my dissertation articles was the winner of the Lindesmith Graduate Student Paper Award from the SSSP Law & Society Division and received Honorable Mention for the Distinguished Student Paper Award from the ASA Crime, Law, and Deviance Section.

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.