Reuben Miller, a male-presenting person, smiles towards the camera while standing outdoors.

Reuben Jonathan Miller, PhD

Associate Professor in the Crown Family School and Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation; Associated Faculty, Sociology

969 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Office Location: E8

Areas of Expertise
Criminal Justice Policy
Poverty and Income
Race, Ethnicity, and Culture

Reuben Jonathan Miller's research examines how racialized and poor people experience law, crime control and social welfare policy. His first book, Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration is based on 15 years of research and practice with currently and formerly incarcerated men, women, their families, partners, and friends in Chicago, Detroit, and a number of cities across the United States.

To capture the effects of crime control in global cities under different public policy regimes, Miller conducts ongoing fieldwork in the UK and throughout the EU, and will begin fieldwork on the African Continent and in the Caribbean. He is currently conducting research on the "moral worlds" of people we've deemed violent and a comparative study of punishment and social welfare policy in port cities that were most involved in the transatlantic slave trade. He is working on a new book, tentatively titled The Least of These: Empire, Emancipation and the Many Uses of Violence, that examines the institutional forms that emerged in the wake of black freedom to incorporate and exclude newly free Black people and the poor white workers drawn into a slave economy and what that moment of political possibility might tell us about the kind of world we might make for ourselves in this one. 

A Collaboration in Education: A Doctoral Candidate and His Mentor, Lester J. Kern and Reuben Jonathan Miller
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The MacArthur Foundation has named Reuben Jonathan Miller a 2022 MacArthur Fellow
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Reuben Jonathan Miller, scholar of mass incarceration, awarded MacArthur fellowship
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See all news articles about Associate Professor in the Crown Family School and Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation; Associated Faculty, Sociology Reuben Jonathan Miller
Reuban Miller discusses the far reaching economic impact of incarceration and various aspects of post-incarceration life, touching upon themes of trust, inclusion, and vulnerability
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Op-ed discusses April 12 event at the Crown Family School featuring Matthew Desmond in conversation with Reuben Jonathan Miller
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Reuben Jonathan Miller discusses recent protests in Chicago and what influences protestors' behavior
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Reuben Miller Explains How Certain Re-Entry Service Providers Exploit Workers Who Were Formerly Incarcerated
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Reuben Miller on how we can help people with felony convictions rebuild their lives
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Reuben Jonathan Miller Discusses The Contrast Between Law Enforcement's Response To BLM Protests And The Capitol Hill Violence
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Time magazine published an excerpt from Reuben Jonathan Miller’s Halfway Home
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Reuben Jonathan Miller talks with WTTW about his new book, Halfway Home
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Documentary on formerly-incarcerated individuals features commentary from Reuben Jonathan Miller
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See all media stories featuring Reuben Jonathan Miller
Reuben Jonathan Miller is named a 2022 MacArthur Fellow
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Miller, R. 2022. The afterlife of mass incarceration, or what does it mean to need a "brute" in the Twenty-first century?: Social Service Review: Vol 96, no 2. Social Service Review, from 

Miller, R. 2021. Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration. United States: Little Brown, 2021.  

  • Finalist, 2022 PEN America/John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award for Nonfiction
  • Finalist, 2022 LA Time Book Prize for Current Affairs
  • 2022 Herbert Jacob Book Prize, Law and Society Association
  • 2022 PROSE Award for Excellence in Social Science
  • 2022 PROSE Award for Cultural Anthropology and Sociology, Association of American Publishers
  • Finalist, PROSE Award for Outstanding Trade Publication, Association of American Publishers
  • 2021 “Books we love” National Public Radio, 12/2021
  • 2021 Seminary Coop “Notables”
  • New York Times, "The Shortlist," 4/2021
  • New York Times, "Books of the Times," 2/2021
  • National Book Review “Hot 5 Books”, 2/2021
  • Library Journal, starred review, 1/2021
  • Kirkus, starred review, 12/2020
  • Publishers Weekly starred review, 11/2020
  • Booklist, review 1/2021
  • Punishment and Society, book review symposium

Miller, R. 2020. “Racism in the Machine: A Review of Race After Technology by Ruha Benjamin.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity DOI: 10.1177/2332649220942521

Miller, R. 2020. "Book review: Nikki Jones, The Chosen Ones: Black Men and the Politics of Redemption." (2020): 412-414.

Miller, R. 2019. All Leviathan’s Children: Race, Punishment and the (Re)Making of the City. In Class, Ethnicity and State in the Polarized Metropolis, pp. 215-229. Palgrave Macmillan.

Miller R., L. Kern, and A. Williams. 2018. The Front End of the Carceral State: Police Stops, Court Fines, and the Racialization of Due Process in the age of Mass Incarceration. Social Service Review 92 (2): 290-303.

Miller, R. and F. Stuart. 2017. Carceral Citizenship: Race, Rights and Responsibility in the era of Mass Supervision. Theoretical Criminology 21 (4): 532–548.

Miller, R. 2017. Prisoner Reentry in an Era of Smart Decarceration. In Epperson, M. and C. Pettus-Davis (Eds) Smart Decarceration: Achieving Criminal Justice Transformation in the 21st Century. Oxford University Press.

D. Patton, D.W. Brunton, A. Dixon, R. Miller, P. Leonard. R. Hackman. 2017. Stop and Frisk Online: Theorizing Everyday Racism in Digital Policing in the Use of Social Media for Identification of Criminal Conduct Associations. Social Media + Society DOI: 10.1177/2056305117733344


Assari, S., R. Miller, R. Taylor, D. Mouzon, V. Keith, and L. Chatters. 2017. "Discrimination Fully Mediates the Effects of Incarceration History on Depressive Symptoms and Psychological Distress Among African American Men." Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities DOI:10.1007/s40615-017-0364-y


Stuart, F. and R. Miller. 2016. The Prisonized Old Head: Intergenerational Socialization and the Fusion of Ghetto and Prison Culture. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography DOI:


Miller, R. and G. Purifoye. 2016. Carceral devolution and the transformation of urban poverty in the United States. In Inderblitzen, M., Meek, R. and L. Abrams (Eds). The Voluntary Sector in Prisons: Encouraging Institutional and Personal Change. Palgrave.


Patton, D., R. Miller, J. Garbarino, A. Gale, and E. Kornfeld. 2016. "Hardiness Scripts: High-Achieving African American Boys In A Chicago Charter School Navigating Community Violence And School." Journal of Community Psychology, 44(5): 638-655.


Watkins, D., D. Patton, and R. Miller. 2016. The state of boys and men of color post-Ferguson. Journal of Men’s Studies.


Miller, R., Miller, J., Zeleskov Djoric, J., and D. Patton. 2015. Baldwin’s Mill: Race, Carceral Expansion and the Pedagogy of Repression, 1965-2015. Humanity and Society, 39(4): 456-475


Miller, R., D. Patton, and E. Williams. 2015. Rethinking Reentry. Offender Programs Report 19 (1).


Patton, D. and R. Miller. 2015. Examining the relationship between adolescent violence exposure and adulthood violence perpetration among urban black and African American men. American Academy of Violence and Abuse Research Reviews.


Miller, R. 2014. Devolving the carceral state: Race, prisoner reentry and the micro-politics of urban poverty management. Punishment and Society 16(3): 305-335.


Miller, R. 2013. Race, hyper incarceration and U.S. poverty policy in historical perspective. Sociology Compass 7 (7): 573-589.


Nkansa-Amankra, S., S. Agbanu and R. Miller. 2013. Disparities in health, poverty, incarceration and social justice among racial groups in the United States: A critical review. International Journal of Health Services 43 (2): 217-240.


Miller, R. and S. Haymes. 2012. Poverty, incarceration: A brief introduction. Journal of Poverty: Innovations on Social, Political and Economic Inequalities, 16 (3): 233-235.


Miller, R. and S. Haymes. (Eds). 2012. Poverty, incarceration: Managing the poor in the neoliberal age. Journal of Poverty, 16 (4).


Miller, R. and F. F. Piven. 2012. Poor people’s movements and the power to disrupt: An interview with Frances Fox Piven.” Journal of Poverty: Innovations on Social, Political and Economic Inequalities 16 (3): 363-373.

Associate Professor Reuben Jonathan Miller is on leave for the 2022-23 academic year.

Reuben Jonathan Miller is an Associate Professor in the University of Chicago Crown Family School and in the Department of Race, Diaspora and Indigeneity, and a Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation. He was named a 2022 MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

Prior to joining the Crown Family School, Dr. Miller was an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan where he served as a Faculty Associate in the Population Studies Center and a Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Afro American and African Studies. His work has been published in journals of criminology, human rights, law, psychology, sociology, social work and public health and he is frequently called upon to offer commentary on issues of crime, punishment, racism and poverty. It has been funded by federal agencies and philanthropic foundations ranging from HUD and NIH to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, Miller was selected as a Member in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ (2016-17), a visiting scholar at Dartmouth University (2018) and at the University of Texas at Austin (2019), and an Eric and Wendy Schmidt National Fellow at the New America (2019). In 2021, he was selected for an academic writing residency by the Rockefeller Foundation at the Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy.

A native son of Chicago’s Southside, Dr. Miller received his Ph.D from Loyola University Chicago, an AM from the University of Chicago, and a BA from Chicago State University. 

For speaking engagements contact Hannah Scott ( of the Lyceum Agency