Professor Hadar Aviram has won the UC Hastings Foundation Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship. The annual award from the Foundation Board of Trustees recognizes demonstrated scholarly production. And with three books in the last five years, Aviram hits the mark.
Aviram is among the top U.S. scholars working in criminal justice and prison reform. Her work focuses on civil rights, law and politics, and social movements. Her research employs socio-legal perspectives and methodologies. She is the past president of the Western Society of Criminology and currently serves as the Book Review Editor of the Law & Society Review.
In just the last five years, Aviram has published more than 10 academic papers and three scholarly books:
- Cheap on Crime: Recession-Era Politics and the Transformation of American Punishment (UC Press, 2015; winner of the CHOICE Award for Academic Titles);
- The Legal Promise and the Process of Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2019), an anthology she co-edited; and
- Yesterday’s Monsters: The Manson Family Cases and the Illusion of Parole (UC Press, 2020).
She also publishes California Correctional Crisis, an influential blog that covers criminal justice policy in California.
“Professor Aviram is one of our most prolific and engaged scholars,” said Academic Dean and Professor Morris Ratner. “She brings an enthusiasm and passion to her scholarship that seeps through the page, making her work a joy to read, which magnifies its impact. She is particularly skillful at making complex subjects accessible, which is why she is also such an effective public intellectual and classroom professor.”
Aviram explained what motivates her. “The criminal process crystallizes in the starkest way the relationship between us and our government, and yet, much of what actually happens in the criminal justice system is invisible to the public. It makes me happy that, in the last few years, people have grown interested in criminal justice reform, which is at the heart of my work, because we can, and should, change our fundamental approach to criminal justice. We know more than we used to, but we are only just now uncovering some of the deep injustices that can happen in police stations, prisons, and post-release supervision. For example, in my most recent book, Yesterday’s Monsters, I explain the political pressures, high emotions, and internal contradictions that make our parole hearing process into an unscientific game of fear and political posturing.”
The UC Hastings Foundation has long supported top-flight scholarship. “For almost 150 years, UC Hastings has lived its mission to educate and train generations of lawyers who are committed to advancing the rule of law in California and the world,” said Greg Lanier ’88, Chair of the Academic Engagement Committee of the Board of Trustees of the UC Hastings Foundation. “The UC Hastings Foundation is proud to support the work of Professor Aviram and the entire faculty of UC Hastings as they show us all how to let justice be done.”
Aviram is one of the nation’s leading voices against mass incarceration. She also writes and speaks on a wide range of issues, including domestic violence, behavioral perspectives on prosecutorial and defense behavior, unconventional family units, animal rights, elder abuse, public trust in the police, correctional policy and budgeting, violence reduction, theoretical trends in crime and punishment, and the history of female crime and punishment.
She is a frequent media commentator, appearing just earlier this week on KPFA discussing her latest book. She has also offered commentary on the Trump impeachment proceedings, the Mueller report and the confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Cavanaugh as well as other criminal justice topics, in both local media and national outlets such as The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Aviram serves as faculty advisor to the law school’s newest journal, the Hastings Journal of Crime and Punishment. Its first issue includes an essay from Aviram, “Are We Still Cheap on Crime? Austerity, Punitivism, and Common Sense in the Trump/Sessions/Barr Era.”
She is also a student favorite. She won the Rutter Award for Teaching Excellence just three years after her arrival at UC Hastings in 2007. In 2010 she won the 1066 Foundation Scholarship Award for scholarship and research. “It is a joy to teach a generation of students with strong values and a commitment to justice, who find the passion to change the system from within and then go out to the world to make us proud of them,” Aviram said.
Aviram holds LL.B. and M.A. degrees in criminology from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from UC Berkeley, where she studied as a Fulbright Fellow and a Regents Intern. She is a member of the California and Israel bars. Prior to joining the UC Hastings faculty in 2007, she practiced as a military defense attorney in Israel and taught at Tel Aviv and Haifa universities.