Politics Faculty

Our core faculty bring a wide range of approaches and disciplinary backgrounds to the study of politics. Graduate students may also benefit from working with our affiliated graduate faculty.

Anjuli Catherine Verma

Summary of Expertise

Anjuli Verma’s research broadly engages questions of punishment and inequality, regime change, and the interplay of legal reform and politics in the governance of crime and punishment. While scholarship on mass incarceration in the U.S. has surged in recent decades, Dr. Verma’s research pivots attention to the phenomenon of prison downsizing and investigates the potential for system-wide decarceration as an emergent 21st-century transformation. At its core, her scholarship aims to discover potential turning points in the development of institutions and the characteristics, conditions and contexts that enable or frustrate change. Dr. Verma’s research and teaching also engages innovations in social science research methods, particularly those attempting to resolve the dilemmas that arise in designing and conducting mixed-methods studies.

Research Interests

Punishment and inequality; mass incarceration; decarceration; deinstitutionalization; sociology of law; politics and social change; mixed-methods research; aging and health.

Biography, Education and Training

Anjuli Verma will join UC Santa Cruz in 2018 as an Assistant Professor in the Politics Department. She is currently a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, School of Law. 

Dr. Verma received her Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society from UC Irvine and her B.A. in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia. Her research broadly engages questions of punishment and inequality, regime change, and the interplay of legal reform and politics in the governance of crime and punishment. Her dissertation was funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Justice and received an Honorable Mention for the 2017 Law & Society Association Dissertation Award. Her work has been published in Law & Society Review, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Oxford Handbook on Prisons and Imprisonment, The American Journal of Bioethics, The British Journal of Criminology, and Ethnography (forthcoming).

Dr. Verma is a member of the University of California Criminal Justice & Health Consortium and serves on the advisory board for the non-profit research organization, Justice Strategies. Before graduate school, she worked as a policy advocate and communications strategist on drug policy and criminal justice reform issues at the American Civil Liberties Union. As an undergraduate student, she held internships at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama and the National Indian Human Rights Commission in New Delhi.

Honors, Awards and Grants

Law & Society Association Dissertation Award, Honorable Mention (2017).

Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley. Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program. Faculty mentor: Jonathan Simon. Project: The “Afterlife” of Mass Incarceration: Prison Displacements, Aging and Community Health (2016-2018).

National Science Foundation, Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant: “Understanding Local Legal Compliance in a Potential Era of Prison Downsizing,” SES-1535511 (2015-2016).

National Institute of Justice, Graduate Research Fellowship Program in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: “California’s Realignment: Understanding Local Legal Compliance in a Potential Era of Prison Downsizing,” 2015-IJ-CX-0001 (2015-2016).

Selected Publications

REFEREED JOURNAL ARTICLES:

Sykes, B., Verma, A. & Hancock, B. (2018) “Aligning Sampling and Case Selection in Quantitative-Qualitative Research Designs: Establishing Generalizability Limits in Mixed-Methods Studies.” Ethnography. Forthcoming.

Verma, A. (2016) “A Turning Point in Mass Incarceration? Local Imprisonment Trajectories and Decarceration under California’s Realignment.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 664: 108-135.

Verma, A. (2015) “The Law-Before: Legacies and Gaps in Penal Reform.” Law & Society Review, 49(4): 847-882.

Verma, A. (2004) “Why Criticisms of SATURN Mirror Criticisms of Any Mandatory Student Drug-testing Policy.” The American Journal of Bioethics, 4: 52-53.

BOOK CHAPTERS:

Lynch, M. & Verma, A. (2016) “The Imprisonment Boom of the Late Twentieth Century: Past, Present, and Future.” Pp. 1-34 in The Oxford Handbook on Prisons and Imprisonment, John Wooldredge and Paula Smith, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

BOOK REVIEWS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS:

Verma, A. (2017) “Book Review: Progressive Punishment: Job Loss, Jail Growth, and the Neoliberal Logic of Carceral Expansion, by Judah Schept,” British Journal of Criminology. Advance access publication, 18 Feb.

Verma, A. & Sykes, B. (2017) Monetary Sanctions and Legal Financial Obligations in California. Washington, DC: Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Forthcoming.

Verma, A. (2011) Afterword to The Primetime War on Drugs and Terror: An Analysis of the War on Terror and the War on Drugs in Popular Primetime Television Programs, by Blakely, J. & Nahm, S. Los Angeles: The Norman Lear Center, University of Southern California School for Communication & Journalism.

Kern, J., Gunja, F., Cox, A., Rosenbaum, M., Appel, J., & Verma, A. (2006) Making Sense of Student Drug Testing: Why Educators Are Saying No. 2d ed. New York: Drug Policy Alliance & American Civil Liberties Union.

Allard, P., Lapidus, L., Luthra, N., Levingston, K., Small, D. & Verma, A. (2005) Caught in the Net: The Impact of Drug Policies on Women and Families. New York: Brennan Center for Justice, American Civil Liberties Union & Break the Chains.

Selected Presentations

Verma, A. The Temporality of Law, Three Ways: Legal “Events” and Regime Shifts in the Mass Incarceration State. Stanford University Program in Law and Society, 4th Conference for Junior Researchers, Law, Innovation and Disruption. Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA. 12-13 May, 2017. (selected). 

Hancock, B., Sykes, B. & Verma, A. “The Problem of ‘Cameo Appearances’ in Mixed-Methods Research: Implications for 21st-Century Ethnography.” Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting. Portland, OR, 8 Apr., 2017.

Verma, A. Is “Decarceration” Even a Word? The Legal Reform of Mass Incarceration in California. Center for Research on Social Change, UC Berkeley. 7 Mar., 2017 (invited).

Verma, A. Measuring Decarceration: Population Principles and Prison Displacements. UC Berkeley Demography and Population Sciences Miniconference: Population and Incarceration. Berkeley, CA, 12 Dec., 2016. (invited).

Verma, A. Policing the Silent War: Notes from the Field. Center for the Study of Law and Society Visiting Scholars Speaker Series, UC Berkeley, 1 Dec. 2016 (invited).

Verma, A. Prison Displacements and Life "After" Mass Incarceration for the Elderly. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA, 16-19 Nov., 2016.

Teaching Interests

Punishment and inequality; mass incarceration; decarceration; deinstitutionalization; sociology of law; politics and social change; research design and methods; mixed-methods research.