Monica Bell's research explores the influence of criminal justice on family life and points of intersection between criminal law, housing law, family law, and poverty-related social policy in the United States.
Her core interests include criminal law and criminal justice policy, property law and housing policy, family structure and family law, poverty law, urban and community sociology, culture, and qualitative methods. These interests, though multiple, coalesce around the goals of understanding persistent poverty, illuminating sources of resilience, and identifying potential legal and policy interventions to help resolve the issues identified.
Monica's work has appeared in law journals and social science journals. With Matthew Desmond, she recently co-authored "Housing, Poverty, and the Law," which will appear in the Annual Review of Law and Social Science in December 2015. A recent paper, "Situational Trust: How Disadvantaged Mothers Reconceive Legal Cynicism," reveals specific ways that poor 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 the American Sociological Association, is currently under peer review.
Monica is a first-generation college graduate with 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.