Brittany Friedman

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Brittany Friedman
Pronouns She / Her / Hers Email

Research & Practice Areas

Punishment and Social Control, Institutional Predation, Race and Ethnicity, Inequality, Access to Justice, Qualitative Methodology, Comparative-Historical

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • American Bar Foundation, Affiliated Scholar
  • Equity Research Institute, Faculty Fellow
  • Sol Price Center for Social Innovation, Faculty Fellow



  • Ph.D. Sociology, Northwestern University, 2018
  • M.A. Sociology, Northwestern University, 2015
  • M.A. Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Columbia University, 2013
  • B.A. History; Minor in Latin American Studies, Vanderbilt University, 2011
    • American Fellowship, Faculty Postdoctoral Research Leave, American Association of University Women, 2023-2024
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California, 07/01/2021 –
    • Assistant Professor of Sociology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, 01/01/2019 – 06/30/2021
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Brittany Friedman is a sociologist of punishment and social control, researching race and ethnicity, inequality, institutional predation, and access to justice. She holds appointments with the American Bar Foundation as an Affiliated Scholar and Access to Justice Faculty Scholar; and an appointment with the Center for Security, Race and Rights as a (De) Racing National Security and Policing Fellow.

    Her first book, which is under contract with The University of North Carolina Press, is tentatively titled, Born in Blood, a highly anticipated book that traces the enduring legacy of white supremacist civilian alliances with law enforcement within U.S. prisons, and the resulting implications for Black political protest and prison social order. The book is listed in Sociology, African American Studies, and the special series, “Justice, Power, and Politics,” home to a long list of award winning scholarly monographs.

    Friedman is co-founder of the Captive Money Lab and Co-PI (w/ Drs. April Fernandes and Gabriela Kirk) of a cross-national comparative study of inmate reimbursement practices, also known as “pay-to-stay.” Their project expands the study of monetary sanctions to include empirical analyses of the historical and contemporary evolution of pay-to-stay practices, debt, and inequality. They have submitted written testimony at the state (Connecticut General Assembly Judiciary Committee) and federal (U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary & Federal Bureau of Prisons) levels, summarizing their peer-reviewed research findings for lawmakers. 

    Dr. Friedman’s research has been supported by external funding from Arnold Ventures, American Bar Foundation, National Science Foundation, American Association of University Women, the American Society of Criminology, and university funding from several institutions.

    • (Fall 2021) GESM 130. Seminar in Social Analysis, TTh 11:00am – 12:20pm, WPH 101
    • (Spring 2022) SOCI 655. Seminar in Race Relations, T 11:00am – 01:50pm,
    • (Spring 2023) GESM 130. Seminar in Social Analysis, TTh 11:00am – 12:20pm, GFS113
    • (Spring 2023) SOCI 499. Special Topics, TTh 02:00pm – 03:20pm,
  • Book

    • Friedman, B.Born in Blood. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. (Under Contract).

    Book Chapters

    • *Friedman, B., Walker, M. L. (2023). (Forthcoming). Creating Intuitively: The Art and Flow of Intuitive Social Science. Disciplinary Futures. (Eds.) Pawan Dhingra and Nadia Kim. New York: New York University Press. *Authorship Alphabetical.
    • *Friedman, B., Hitchens, B. (2021). Theorizing Embodied Carcerality: A Black Feminist Sociology of Punishment. Black Feminist Sociology: Perspectives and Praxis. (Eds.) Zakiya Luna and Whitney Pirtle. New York: Routledge Press. *Authorship Alphabetical.

    Book Review

    • Friedman, B. (2023). (Forthcoming). Review of Jessica Simes’s Punishing Places: The Geography of Mass Incarceration. American Journal of Sociology.
    • Friedman, B. (2021). Review of Matthew Clair’s Privilege and Punishment: How Race and Class Matter in Criminal Court. Theoretical Criminology. pp. 687-689.
    • Friedman, B. (2021). Reckoning with Carceral Technologies Through Abolition- Review of Garrett Felber’s Those Who Know Don’t Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Carceral State. Journal of Civil and Human Rights. pp. 103-105.
    • Friedman, B. (2017). Review of Dan Berger’s Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era. Punishment & Society. pp. 258-260.

    Journal Article

    • Fernandes, A. D., Friedman, B., Kirk, G. (2022). The ‘Damaged’ State v. the ‘Willful’ Nonpayer: Pay-to-Stay and the Social Construction of Damage, Harm, and Moral Responsibility in a Rent-Seeking Society. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences. Vol. 8 (1), pp. 82-105.
    • *Friedman, B., Harris, A., Huebner, B., Martin, K., Pettit, B., Shannon, S., Sykes, B. (2022). What is Wrong with Monetary Sanctions? Directions for Policy, Practice, and Research. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences. Vol. 8 (1), pp. 221-243. *Authorship Alphabetical.
    • Friedman, B. (2022). White Unity and Prisoner-Officer Alliances. Contexts. Vol. 21 (3), pp. 28-33.
    • Friedman, B. (2021). Unveiling the Necrocapitalist Dimensions of the Shadow Carceral State: On Pay-to-Stay to Recoup the Cost of Incarceration. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice. Vol. 37 (1), pp. 66-87.
    • Friedman, B., Fernandes, A. D., Kirk, G. (2021). ‘Like if you Get a Hotel Bill’: Consumer Logic, Pay-to-Stay and the Production of Incarceration as a Public Commodity. Sociological Forum. Vol. 36 (3), pp. 735-757.
    • Friedman, B. (2021). Toward a Critical Race Theory of Prison Order in the Wake of Covid-19 and Its Afterlives: When Disaster Collides with Institutional Death by Design. Sociological Perspectives. Vol. 64 (5), pp. 689-705.
    • Kirk, G., Fernandes, A. D., Friedman, B. (2020). Who Pays for the Welfare State? Austerity Politics and the Origin of Pay-to-Stay Fees as Revenue Generation. Sociological Perspectives. Vol. 63 (6), pp. 921-938.
    • Friedman, B. (2020). Carceral Immobility and Financial Capture: A Framework for the Consequences of Racial Capitalism Penology and Monetary Sanctions. UCLA Criminal Justice Law Review. Vol. 4 (1), pp. 177-184.
    • Friedman, B., Pattillo, M. (2019). Statutory Inequality: The Logics of Monetary Sanctions in State Law. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences. Vol. 5 (1), pp. 174-196.