Brittany Friedman is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Faculty Affiliate of the Program in Criminal Justice and the Center for Security, Race, and Rights. She is predominantly interested in critical approaches to race, power, and social control. Her research interrogates this by examining how the racial and sociopolitical dynamics of penal policy influence punishment severity, incarceration conditions, and the prison social system.
Her first book tackles this dilemma through an in-depth analysis of how extreme punishment and social control techniques perfected against black militant prisoners led to the rise of the Black Guerilla Family in California, setting the stage for the contemporary social order of prisons. The book is forthcoming in the Justice, Power, and Politics Series at the University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. This project is supported by the National Science Foundation, the American Society of Criminology, the Kellogg School of Management and featured in numerous academic and public outlets, including most recently: KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles, 89.3 FM Chicago, and Black Agenda Report.
Alongside her book, she is currently working on four related projects. The first (with Pete Simi) compares the organizational development of white supremacist prison gangs in the United States, the second (with Anthony Landers) is a comparative analysis of anti-snitching culture within prisons, the third examines the subjective experience of long-term confinement across race and gender, and the fourth (with Pete Simi) comparatively analyzes organizational deception and cover-ups.
She is also a member of the Multi-State Study of Monetary Sanctions, researching how monetary sanctions in the criminal justice system impact reentry, racial inequality, and poverty.
With April Fernandes and Gabriela Kirk, she is Co-PI of a multi-state study of inmate reimbursement practices, also known as “pay-to-stay.” Their funded project expands the study of monetary sanctions to include empirical analyses of pay-to-stay as revenue generation.