Monica Bell is a legal sociologist who studies policing, police-community relations in the context of disadvantage, and the intersection of policing with related fields such as family, housing, and social services provision. More generally, Monica studies how institutions shape the lives of the poor and how they might be more effectively and fairly designed.
Monica's work has appeared in social science journals and law journals. A recent article, "Situational Trust: How Disadvantaged Mothers Reconceive Legal Cynicism," reveals specific ways that poor African-American mothers--often depicted as either disdainful of police or as manipulators who unfairly call the police on their relationship partners and children--understand and strategize around criminal justice in the age of heavy policing. This article, which received four best graduate student paper awards from sections of the American Sociological Association and an honorable mention from the Eastern Sociological Society for the best graduate student paper across all topics, appears in the June 2016 issue of the Law & Society Review. With Matthew Desmond, she recently published "Housing, Poverty, and the Law" in the Annual Review of Law and Social Science.
A first-generation college graduate, Monica holds degrees from Furman University, University College Dublin, Harvard University, and the Yale Law School. She is also a Climenko Fellow (2014-2015 and 2016-2017), a research associate at Yale Law School's Justice Collaboratory (2015-2016), a doctoral fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy at Harvard, and a member of the California Bar.
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