Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
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prisons, prisoners, penal history, resistance, organizations, social control
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Personal Info

About Me

I study criminal punishment from historical, sociological, and sociolegal perspectives. Broadly, I seek to understand the causes and consequences of penal change, focusing especially on the role of organizational settings and actors, throughout Western history. Specifically, I am interested in how prisons became institutionalized in the American penal landscape. My two other central areas of inquiry involve questions about the causes and consequences of prisoner behavior and the relationship between the social construction of deviance and social control.

My book manuscript is about Eastern State Penitentiary, its exceptional retention of long-term solitary confinement throughout the nineteenth century, and the prison administrators who remain committed to their heavily criticized approach to incarceration.

Recent Publications

Rubin, Ashley T. 2020 (forthcoming). The Deviant Prison: Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary and the Origins of America’s Modern Penal System, 1829-1913. Cambridge University Press.

Rubin, Ashley T. 2019. “Punishment’s Legal Templates: A Theory of Formal Penal Change.” Law & Society Review.

Rubin, Ashley T. 2019. “History of the Prison.” In Mathieu Deem (Ed.) The Handbook of Social Control. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Rubin, Ashley T., and Keramet Reiter. 2018. “Continuity in the Face of Penal Innovation: Revisiting the History of American Solitary Confinement.” Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 43, Issue 4, pp. 1604-1632.

Rubin, Ashley T. 2018. “Prison History.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Ed. Henry Pontell. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rubin, Ashley T. 2018. “The Prehistory of Innovation: A Longer View of Penal Change.” Punishment & Society, Vol. 20, Issue 2, pp. 192–216.

Rubin, Ashley T. 2018. “Professionalizing Prison: Primitive Professionalization and the Administrative Defense of Eastern State Penitentiary, 1829–1879.” Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 43, Issue 1, pp. 182–211.

Rubin, Ashley T., and Michelle S. Phelps. 2017. “Fracturing the ‘Penal State’: State Actors and the Role of Conflict in Penal Change.” Theoretical Criminology, Vol. 21, Issue 4, pp. 422–440.

Rubin, Ashley T. 2017. “Resistance as Agency? Incorporating the Structural Determinants of Prisoner Behaviour.” British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 57, Issue 3, pp. 644-663.

Rubin, Ashley T. 2017. “The Consequences of Prisoners’ Micro-resistance.” Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 42, Issue 1, pp. 138–162.

Rubin, Ashley T. 2016. “Penal Change as Penal Layering: A Case Study of Proto- Prison Adoption and Capital Punishment Reduction, 1785–1822.” Punishment & Society, Vol. 18, Issue 4, pp. 420–441.

Rubin, Ashley T. 2015. “A Neo-Institutional Account of Prison Diffusion.” Law & Society Review, Vol. 49, Issue 2, pp. 365–399.

Rubin, Ashley T. 2015. “Resistance or Friction: Understanding the Significance of Prisoners’ Secondary Adjustments.” Theoretical Criminology, Vol. 19, Issue 1, pp. 23–42.

Rubin, Ashley T. 2012. “The Unintended Consequences of Penal Reform: A Case Study of Transportation in Eighteenth-Century London.” Law & Society Review, Vol. 46, Issue 4, 815–851.

Media Coverage,,
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century
Expertise by Topic