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Ryken Grattet

Ryken Grattet


2268 SS&H

Office Hours for Spring 2017 :

  • Spring: Tuesdays 11am & by appointment


  1. Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara


Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

How do social control institutions contribute to the very problems they seek to manage?
Prison and parole populations in the United States have grown dramatically in the last three decades—just at the moment many predicted they would stabilize or actually decline. My work focuses specifically on the role that parole systems play in the era of “Mass Incarceration.” Returns from parole have contributed to escalating prison populations nation-wide, but especially in the largest prison and parole system in the country, California. I examine how the organization of community supervision—legally and bureaucratically—contributes to the extraordinarily high rate of parolees returning to prison in California. This work challenges conventional wisdom that individual attributes like criminal history, personal, and psychological characteristics are sufficient to understanding why some parolees wind up back behind bars.

How do local communities receive and remake law created at the “higher” levels of the legal system?

A fundamental problem of governing by the “rule of law” is that so often how a law is implemented differs from the intentions of those who designed and supported the law in the first place. In various guises, this gap between “law-on-the-books” and “law-in-action” has been recognized by sociolegal scholars since the early part of the 20th Century.  My studies of the policing of hate crime in America focus on the role of law enforcement organizations in distilling statutory understandings of hate crime, making sense of it, and, ultimately, applying the designation of hate crime to concrete incidents. My work casts light on the "law-in-between" law-on-the-books and law-in-action by showing how attributes of local enforcement agencies, as well as the communities within which they are situated, affect how law is received within local contexts.

Scholarly Publications

- Article Prize, American Sociological Association, Sociology of Law Section, 2007

-    Article Prize, 2001, Law and Society Association.

-    Honorable Mention for Article Prize, 2001, American Sociological Association, Sociology of Law Section.

Policy and Public Publications


1283 Social Sciences & 
University of California, 
One Shields Avenue 
Davis, CA 95616

(530) 752-0782 phone
(530) 752-0783 fax

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