DePaul University College of LAS > Academics > Sociology > Faculty > Traci Schlesinger

Traci Schlesinger

Traci Schlesinger is an Associate Professor of Sociology and an Affiliated Professor of African and Black Diaspora Studies, American Studies, and Women & Gender Studies. Questions about how the criminalizing and punishing systems maintain racial oppression in the contemporary United States inform her teaching, research, and activism. She teaches classes on the criminal legal system, legal theory, and racism in the post-civil rights US.  Schlesinger received her AA from Bergen Community College, her BA from Fordham College Lincoln Center, Fordham University and her PhD from Princeton University.  While her research has led her to a variety of different sites, from law libraries to publicly available data to jails and  prisons, all of Schlesingers research works to understand the criminal legal systems role in the maintenance of racial stratification in the post-civil rights United States. Materially, this research agenda has led her to publish numerous articles and reviews that fall into one of two branches. The first examines the racial and gendered impact of criminal laws such as mandatory terms and sentencing enhancements. The second examines racial and gendered disparities in criminal processing during every stage from pretrial diversion, to bail, to charge bargaining, to sentencing. She is currently working on a multifaceted research project that examines racial disparities in solitary confinement.   Her work has been published in Justice Quarterly, Crime & Delinquency, Race & Justice, JIJIS, Feminist Formations, Sage Open, Social Forces and Law & Society Review as well as in numerous encyclopedia and reference works. 

Research Interests

  • Post-Civil Rights Racism and Its History
  • Legal Theory
  • State Punishment
  • Critical Criminology


2013. Racial Disparities in Pretrial Diversions: An Analysis of Outcomes among Men Charged with Felonies and Processed in State Courts. Race & Justice. 3 (3):210-238.

2011. The Failure of Race-Neutral Policies: How Mandatory Terms and Sentencing Enhancements Increased Racial Disparities in Prison Admission Rates. Crime & Delinquency. 57(1): 56-81.

2008. Equality at the Price of Justice: How Mandatory Terms and Sentencing Enhancements Disproportionately affect Women. National Womens Studies Association Journal, 20(2):27-47.