Ryken Grattet

Ryken Grattet Portrait

Position Title

2261 Social Science and Humanities


  • Ph.D., Sociology, UC Santa Barbara, 1994
  • M.A., Sociology, UC Santa Barbara, 1989
  • B.S., Sociology, Western Washington University, 1986


Ryken Grattet is a Professor of Sociology at UC Davis who specializes in the sociology of law, crime, punishment, and social control.

Research Focus

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. Ryken Grattet’s research and writing examines this issue in the context of criminal law and policy, focusing on the diffusion of hate crime law, variation in ways local parole authorities respond to parole violators, and, most recently, how major criminal justice reforms intended to reduce reliance on incarceration play out locally. Most of his current work is on correctional reforms aimed at downsizing prisons and jails in California.


Bird, Mia, Viet Nguyen, and Ryken Grattet. (2020) The Impact of Defelonizing Drug Possession on Recidivism. Criminology & Public Policy 19(2): 591-616

Franco, Konrad and Ryken Grattet (2019) The Effect of Strain, Personal Affect, and Personal/Social Resources on Substance Abuse Among Incarcerated and Non-Incarcerated Youth: A Comparative Analysis. Deviant Behavior 41(10): 1207-1220.

Grattet, Ryken and Mia Bird (2018) Next Steps in Jail and Prison Downsizing. Criminology & Public Policy 17(3): 717-726

Bird, M., & Grattet, R. (2016) Recidivism and realignment. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 664 (March): 176-195

Grattet, R. (2011) Societal reactions to deviance. Annual Review of Sociology 37: 185-204.

Grattet, R., Lin, J., & Petersilia, J. (2011) Supervision regimes, risk, and official reactions to parolee deviance. Criminology 49 (2): 371-399.

Lin, J., Grattet, R., & Petersilia, J. (2010) ‘Back-end sentencing’ and reimprisonment: Individual, organizational, and community predictors of parole sanctioning decisions. Criminology 48(3): 759-795.

Grattet, R. (2009) The urban ecology of bias crime: A study of disorganized and defended neighborhoods. Social Problems 56 (1): 132-150.

Grattet, R., & Jenness, V. (2008) Transforming symbolic law into organizational action: Hate crime policy and law enforcement practice. Social Forces 87(1): 1-28.

Grattet, R., & Jenness, V. (2005) The reconstitution of law in local settings: Agency discretion, ambiguity, and a surplus of law in the policing of hate crime. Law & Society Review 39 (4): 893-941.

Jenness, V., & Grattet, R. (2005) The law in between: The effects of organizational perviousness on the policing of hate crime. Social Problems 52 (3): 337-359.

Phillips, S., & Grattet, R. (2000) Judicial rhetoric, meaning making, and the institutionalization of hate crime. Law & Society Review 34: 567-606.

Grattet, R., Jenness, V., & Curry, T. (1998) The homogenization and differentiation of ‘hate crime’ law in the U.S., 1978-1995: An analysis of innovation and diffusion in the criminalization of bigotry. American Sociological Review 63: 286-307.


Professor Grattet teaches courses on law and society, the civil justice system, deviance, social conflict, the logic of inquiry, and evaluation research. In all of his teaching, he focuses on how social scientists know what they know, which means he strongly emphasizes the theories, methods, and evidence scholars use to construct arguments.


Distinguished Scholar Award. 2018. Division on Terrorism and Bias Crime. American Society of Criminology.

Social Sciences Dean’s Innovation Award. 2012. College of Letters and Sciences, Division of Social Sciences. University of California, Davis.

Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award. 2010. University of California, Davis.

Distinguished Article Award. 2007. American Sociological Association, Sociology of Law Section.

Distinguished Practice Award. 2006. Pacific Sociological Association.

Award for Outstanding Scholarship. 2002. Society for the Study of Social Problems, Crime and Delinquency Section.

Article Prize. 2001. Law and Society Association.

Donald Cressey Memorial Dissertation Prize. 1997. Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara.