Reiter studies prisons, prisoners’ rights, and the impact of prison and punishment policy on individuals, communities, and legal systems. She uses a variety of methods in her work — including interviewing, archival and legal analysis, and quantitative data analysis — in order to understand both the history and impact of criminal justice policies, from medical experimentation on prisoners and record clearing programs to gun control laws and the use of long-term solitary confinement in the United States and internationally.
No Jargon Podcast
In the News
Draws upon 140 in-depth interviews with gun offenders detained in Los Angeles County jails to examine legal and extra-legal factors that influence illegal gun possession. Findings suggest that feelings of insecurity coupled with perceptions of, and experiences with, law enforcement interact in complex ways to condition legitimacy-based beliefs, and ultimately, compliance.
Demonstrates how penal technologies that violate current sensibilities can survive, despite changing macro‐level social factors that otherwise explain penal change and practice, provided those technologies serve prison officials' internal goals.
Draws on in-depth, qualitative interviews that examine individual experiences in two different legal contexts: deportation regimes and supermax prisons. Identifies common legal processes of punishment experiences across both contexts. Specifically, the U.S. legal system re-labels immigrants (as deportable noncitizens) and supermax prisons (as dangerous gang offenders).
Draws on interviews with 76 prisoners, 47 prison staff, and 14 experts, to document lived experiences of punishment in the Danish prison context. Argues that, regardless of “humanizing” elements of normalization and humanity, prisoners and staff may experience the power of the carceral state in Denmark in ways similar to those under more obviously harsh confinement regimes, as exist in the United States and, to a lesser extent, in the United Kingdom.
Tells the history of an original "supermax," California's Pelican Bay State Prison, where extreme conditions sparked statewide hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013—the latter involving nearly 30,000 prisoners. Reiter describes how the Pelican Bay prison was created—with literally no legislative oversight—as a panicked response to the perceived rise of black radicalism in California prisons in the 1970s.