Bruce Western is a professor of sociology, the Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy, the director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, and faculty chair of the Program in Criminal Justice at the Harvard Kennedy School. His research examines trends in American economic inequality and the growth of the US penal population.
During the Radcliffe fellowship year, Western is preparing a book manuscript describing the experience of 124 men and women who have left prison and returned to neighborhoods in the Boston area. Penal institutions have become a commonplace presence in the lives of America's poor, and his manuscript will provide a unique picture of how the social conditions of American poverty shape the lives of men and women released from incarceration.
Western was a Jean Monnet Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute from 1995 to 1996 and a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow, and he is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His book Punishment and Inequality in America (Russell Sage Foundation, 2007) won the 2007 Albert J. Reiss Jr. Distinguished Scholarship Award from the Crime, Law, and Deviance Section of the American Sociological Association and the 2008 Michael J. Hindelang Award, for the most outstanding contribution to research on criminology, from the American Society of Criminology. He earned his PhD in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles.